Corker Pushing Ahead with Attempt to Tie Trump’s Hands on Trade

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 28: Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., attends a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda as the late Rev. Billy Graham lies in honor on February 28, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty

Senator Bob Corker says he will not give up his quest to limit the president’s ability to impose tariffs.

Corker unveiled a bill Wednesday that would require congressional approval before a president could levy tariffs for national security reasons.  The Trump administration has invoked national security to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and has launched an inquiry into auto imports that is likely to lead to tariffs on vehicles.

Although Corker’s bill is supported by five other Republicans and four Democrats, it is unlikely to become law. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not bring the legislation up for a vote, although he warned that Senators may try to attach it to another bill.

Even if it were to pass, the bill would likely be vetoed by President Donald Trump. There are no signs the bill could garner the tw0-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House to overcome a presidential veto.

President Donald Trump told Corker in a call Wednesday to stand down on the legislation. After the call, Corker said he will continue to press his bill, according to a person familiar with the matter. One person briefed on the call described it as “heated.”

Backers of the bill include Republican Senators Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and Mike Lee of Utah.  Democrats Mark Warner of Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota,  Brian Schatz of Hawaii, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland also support the bill.

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