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Sen. Jeff Flake threatens bill to block Trump’s tariffs

Sen. Jeff Flake said Thursday he would introduce a bill to block tariffs on imported steel and aluminum that President Donald Trump unveiled Thursday.


Sen. Jeff Flake said Thursday he would introduce a bill to block tariffs on imported steel and aluminum that President Donald Trump unveiled.

In a pair of tweets immediately after Trump laid out his plans, Flake, an Arizona Republican who has been a frequent critic of Trump, said the tariffs are “a marriage of two lethal poisons to economic growth — protectionism and uncertainty. . . . I will immediately draft and introduce legislation to nullify these tariffs, and I urge my colleagues to pass it before this exercise in protectionism inflicts any more damage on the economy.”

These so-called ‘flexible #tariffs’ are a marriage of two lethal poisons to economic growth – protectionism and uncertainty. Trade wars are not won, they are only lost. Congress cannot be complicit as the administration courts economic disaster. 1/2

— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) March 8, 2018

I will immediately draft and introduce legislation to nullify these tariffs, and I urge my colleagues to pass it before this exercise in protectionism inflicts any more damage on the economy. https://t.co/Js9TNzPRBc

— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) March 8, 2018

Flake appeared to have the support of a number of top Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Read: Here are the details on Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, called the tariffs “a tax hike on American manufacturers, workers and consumers,” and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., said before Trump’s announcement that he feared the tariffs would have “unintended consequences.”

On Wednesday, a group of 107 Republican lawmakers sent Trump a letter detailing their opposition to the tariffs. Many worry that they will hurt U.S. workers and industries, and potentially spark a disastrous trade war.

Republicans may have a tough time getting an anti-tariff bill passed, though. They would need 67 votes in the Senate to have a veto-proof majority, a tall order for the bitterly divided chamber.

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