Rep. Himes calls Trump's tariff plan 'backward-looking'

- Maret 08, 2018

A pro-trade Democrat on Thursday called Donald Trump's proposal to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports "backward-looking," saying it could hurt the president's message to young voters in the midterms later this year.

“These tariffs are about helping a steel industry, and that’s an attractive but backward-looking, in my opinion, and not terribly accurate or economically powerful message," said Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) at a panel convened by POLITICO on the millennial economic future. Topics ranged from student loan debt forgiveness to the new tariff proposals.

Trump’s decision to impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum followed an investigation that found current import volumes threaten national security, said Mark Calabria, the chief economist in Vice President Mike Pence’s office.

Pence privately opposes the tariff idea, as do many Republicans, who tend to support free-trade policies, POLITICO has reported. But the vice president has declined to make his case publicly. Calabria would not address his boss' stance when he was asked about it Thursday.

“I don’t want to preempt those [upcoming announcements],” Calabria said. “I’m not a national security guy, I’m an economist, so this is really a decision for the national security folks.”

The White House has an event planned Thursday afternoon related to the tariffs proposal, but it was unclear whether the details would be fully ironed out by that time.


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