House Speaker Ryan criticizes Trump tariff plan

The top Republican in the U.S. Congress, Paul Ryan, publicly denounced President Donald Trump's imposition Thursday of steep tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.

Sen. Orrin Hatch told reporters he thought Congress could stop the tariffs from being implemented.

But Flake said that was not enough and Congress must act.

House Speaker Paul Ryan agreed that the USA needs to take action against "abusers of trade" like China, accusing them of engaging in practices of "dumping and transhipping" of aluminum and steel.

During a conference call between White House officials and GOP Hill staffers Thursday, administration representatives requested favorable comments from members on the president's plan, a suggestion that the staff in one office laughed at, according to a Republican aide.

"I disagree with this action and fear its unintended consequences", Ryan said in a statement. "There are unquestionably bad trade practices by nations like China, but the better approach is targeted enforcement against those practices".

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican, praised Trump for exempting Mexico and Canada from tariffs - for now - and said the White House should "go further to narrow these tariffs so they hit the intended target -- and not US workers, businesses, and families". "Slapping aluminum and steel imports with tariffs of this magnitude is misguided".

"Raising taxes on steel and aluminum importers will increase production costs for American manufacturers and raise prices on American consumers that rely on steel and aluminum products", Hatch wrote. But despite widespread unhappiness in the party over Trump's tariffs, passage of such legislation would be a long shot - especially since a two-thirds super-majority would be needed for passage over a likely presidential veto.

"This isn't just bad for farmers and ranchers in Nebraska who need to buy a new tractor, it's also bad for the moms and dads who will lose their manufacturing jobs because fewer people can buy a more expensive product", he said.

Republicans are exploring ways to blunt the president's authority on an issue where they disagree.

"The Constitution gives the responsibility to the Congress and the Congress has consistently delegated these powers to the executive branch", Sasse said. And Sen. Jeff Flake said he was already working on legislation to nullify the tariffs.

"These so-called "flexible tariffs" are a marriage of two lethal poisons to economic growth - protectionism and uncertainty".

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