Republicans Are Finally Taking A Stand Against Trump's Flagrant Power Grab - But Only When It Comes to Trade
Republicans in the Senate are finally taking a stand against President Donald Trump, introducing legislation to curtail his executive power.
The free trade champions in the Republican Party, upset by newly imposed tariffs on U.S. allies, are leading one of the first serious drives to push back against a president who has used his authority to advance a protectionist agenda. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., revealed a bill on Wednesday that would require congressional approval for any tariffs that are levied in the name of national security, a direct reference to the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by Trump on Canada, the European Union and Mexico. Tariffs and revenues, Corker argues, are the responsibilities of the Congress and not the executive branch.
Co-sponsored by four other Senate Republicans, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, this united campaign against the president stands in stark opposition to Republicans' responses to other controversial Trump administration policy, like immigrant children being forcibly separated from their parents.
Trump is reportedly unhappy with Corker's move to restrict his powers and had a lengthy conversation with him on Wednesday in the hope of convincing him to drop the bill, according to CNN. Corker described the conversation as "heartfelt" but said that he stood his ground with the president.
"I am a United States senator, and I have responsibilities and I'm going to continue to carry them out," Corker told reporters.
Corker also said that while many Republicans share his views on trade policy, they remain afraid of crossing the president.
"I understand there's a fear — fearful of the president, let's be honest. On policy grounds, they strongly support this. But there are concerns about countering the president by some ... there's no doubt fear out there," Corker said, regarding the attitude of his fellow Senate Republicans.
Reaction from some members of the House Freedom Caucus has been less muted.