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.