Sen. Jeff Flake is pushing legislation to block President Donald Trump’s new tariffs on steel and aluminum, declaring he won’t back any exemptions put forward by the administration.
“The problem is, when you say, ‘All right, let’s have tariffs. But let’s couple that with uncertainty,’ that’s almost worst. I mean, those are dual poisons to the economy,” the Arizona Republican said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “You know, tariffs are awful. Tariffs married to uncertainty is probably even worse.”
Allowing just a single person to have nearly total control over tariffs is “not the way to do business,” Flake said.
While it would be difficult for Congress to get a majority on a bill to block tariffs, it still have to try, he said, citing congressional success in the 1970s overriding President Jimmy Carter’s tariffs on oils.
With Trump's trade moves, Flake said it's becoming harder to make the case that the Republican Party is the party of free trade.
“Free trade is rarely popular out on the stump,” he said. “But usually after the campaign, the Congress gets together and says, ‘All right. Let’s pass trade promotion authority,’ or ‘Let’s pass this trade agreement.’ I think we’re going completely in the wrong direction.”