Sen. Pat Toomey is going toe-to-toe with President Donald Trump on the issue of tariffs and he’s trying to whip up his own party to take action, telling Politico “it is the authority of Congress to establish tariffs.”
“We’ve crossed the Rubicon,” Toomey, R-Penn., told Politico. “It’s going to do and is already doing real damage, so I think we’ve got a responsibility to stand up and push back.”
Toomey avoids the daily political acrimony of who’s tweeting what to whom, but the staunch free-trader is primed for a 15-round fight on tariffs. Toomey agrees with the administration that China is a bad actor stealing our intellectual property, but asserts that Trump’s fixation on trade deficits is essentially apples and oranges.
“I am skeptical about the tactics that he’s using. It’s also not clear to me what the goal is of the administration. What’s the goal?” Toomey told Politico. “There is an underlying problem. It’s not clear whether these tariffs are even meant to deal with that.”
Toomey continues to cajole his Republican peers to put pressure on the White House and rein in the president’s errant strategy, but it’s tough sledding against Republicans who fear undercutting Trump and think tariffs is the president’s prerogative.
Toomey supports Sen. Mike Lee’s bill to limit the executive branch’s ability to unilaterally impose tariffs.
“The Constitution is completely unambiguous. … It is the authority of Congress to establish tariffs,” Toomey told Politico. “We’ve given him a lot of authority, and I think that is authority that should reside with Congress.”
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