Senate will not 'poke the bear' Trump by passing tariff measure: lawmaker

Senate will not 'poke the bear' Trump by passing tariff measure: lawmaker

Sen. Bob Corker unloaded on his fellow Republicans for cowering from President Donald Trump.

Senate GOP leaders blocked a vote Tuesday on legislation that would give Congress veto power over certain presidential tariffs - prompting Sen.

"I heard. the senior senator from Texas saying the other day, 'Well, gosh, we might upset the president".

Such a move would set up a high stakes showdown between the president and members of his own party months before a midterm election, and likely provoke Trump to lash out at individual members.

"'Gosh, we might poke the bear' is the language I've been hearing in the hallways", Corker, who authored the amendment in question, said in a fiery floor speech. He said, "The President's efforts to make America more competitive and level the playing field have been constantly undercut by members of both parties".

"I can't believe it".

Corker, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, criticized the president for overstepping his authority on slapping tariffs on aluminum and steel by simply claiming they were a national security interest.

Inhofe said he wants to see Corker's legislation advance in some other way, but that seems unlikely.

But the amendment ran afoul of the House's constitutional prerogative to originate revenue bills. Corker sought unanimous consent to swap a separate piece of House legislation to resolve the so-called blue slip problem, but Oklahoma GOP Sen.

Corker said the ability to cite national security to issue tariffs at will, as Trump is now threatening to do on auto imports, allows the president to "wake up one morning, without going through any of these processes, and decide that on national security grounds he is going to put tariffs in place".

Corker offered the amendment in response to Trump's recent decision to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports, even from US allies, arguing they are needed for national security. "We're a party built on principles that right now are increasing economic opportunity for millions of Americans". Corker said he asked for unanimous consent to place the current NDAA text on a House-passed revenue shell. And a lot of them would vote for it if it came to a vote. "You know, I think about the things that we generally speaking have stood for. sort of where the Republican Party has been traditionally and were it is today is quite divergent", Corker told reporters.

He continued to say that some Republicans in congress still stand up to Trump, but there is a clear resistance by many, including leadership, to "poke the bear" that is Trump. "The president might get upset with us as United States senators if we vote on the Corker amendment so we're going to do everything we can to block it". Lindsey Graham of SC said it was unlikely there would be amendment votes and placed the blame squarely on Sen. He also asked that his amendment be called up and made in order so the body could vote up or down on the merits of the amendment.

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