Hatch Blasts White House Trade Policy, Seeks Action On Trade Imbalances
Finance chairman takes aim at China over steel and aluminum production, intellectual property

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, left, said that the U.S. is currently in “one of the most challenging trade environments” that he has seen in his four decades in the Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch on Tuesday issued a blistering critique of the Trump administration’s trade policy and called on the White House to take action to remedy imbalances with trade partners like China and the European Union. 

The Utah Republican, speaking at a Business Roundtable event with the Farmers for Free Trade, highlighted the threat posed to the U.S. economy by “external opponents and internal skeptics.” 

Tariff Fallout Could Shape Midterm Battlegrounds
Political observers in both parties are taking stock of potential effects

President Donald J. Trump with Rick Saccone speaks to supporters at the Atlantic Aviation Hanger on March 10 in Moon Township, Pa. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

The Trump administration’s controversial plan for new tariffs may seep into the debates of competitive House races — well beyond Pennsylvania steel country — that will determine in November which party controls the chamber.

Opponents of the tariffs on steel and aluminum also warn that if the administration carries through with the proposal and if other nations retaliate, the issue could spill into even more congressional districts, including in Republican-leaning farm country.

Trump Knows Best on U.S.-Canada Trade, President Says
Trade office data contradicts stance

President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participate in a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House on Feb. 13, 2017. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump let his top trade office know Thursday morning that when it comes to all data about the United States’ trading relationships with other countries, he believes his gut knows best.

During a Wednesday GOP fundraiser in Missouri, the president said Canada is among those countries that have a trade surplus with the U.S. and has treated America unfairly. He also admitted to being unaware if that statement was true when he said it to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. And he made clear he often simply wings it.

Despite Rancor On Tariffs, Senate GOP Rejects Legislative Response
What started off as a war cry has been reduced to a whimper

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says nullifying tariffs on imported steel and aluminum imposed by the president isn't in the cards for his chamber. Also pictured, from right, South Dakota Sen. John Thune and Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans, after decrying President Donald Trump’s recently announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, have no plans to pursue legislation to block them from going into effect.

“The thought that the president would undo action he’s taken strikes me as remote at best and I’d like to use floor time in the Senate for things that actually have a chance to become law,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday. “I think it’s highly unlikely we’ll be dealing with that in a legislative way.”

Flake Files Bill to Stop the Trump Tariffs
Prospects uncertain despite GOP concerns about steel, aluminum policy

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., unveiled his trade legislation on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Jeff Flake on Monday introduced legislation that would nullify the tariffs President Donald Trump imposed last week on steel and aluminum imports.

Mexico and Canada, who along with the U.S. are in the midst of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, are initially exempt from the new tariffs, a carveout Flake said would lead to uncertainty among other countries.

Analysis: Trump Follows His Gut on Tariffs and Kim Summit
‘Trump doctrine’ defined by ‘president’s feelings at any given time,’ expert says

President Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference in at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md., last month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With his go-it-alone approach to tariffs and possible conventional wisdom-busting meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump is showing how he follows his instincts above the advice of allies and experts. 

But there’s no consensus on whether his gut-level approach to foreign policy will produce the desired results. That means the world will have to stay tuned — and by all accounts that’s just how he wants it.

Ignoring GOP Pleas, Trump Sets Tariffs In Motion
Canada, Mexico initially exempt when import fees start March 23

President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb 23. His steel and aluminum tariffs will take effect March 23. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated at 4:22 p.m. | President Donald Trump on Thursday set in motion tariffs that will slap fees on many imports of steel and aluminum, moving ahead with a major part of his “America first” philosophy above the loud objections of Republican lawmakers.

“People are starting to realize how important it is,” Trump said just before signing in the Roosevelt Room. He said a “strong steel and aluminum industry” is “absolutely vital” for national security, predicting his action will trigger the reopening of American production facilities.

Former Ways and Means Aide Considered as Cohn Replacement
Source: Shahira Knight in running for chief economic adviser role

Top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster brief reporters on Jan. 23. Cohn announced this week he is leaving that position. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Shahira Knight, special assistant to President Donald Trump for tax and retirement policy, is under consideration to replace departing Gary Cohn as chief economic adviser, according to a senior White House official.

“She is very well respected here,” the senior official told Roll Call. “She has done a great job.”

Trump Announces Thursday Afternoon Meeting on Tariffs
Meeting was not on the White House daily schedule released late Wednesday night

President Donald Trump listens during a joint news conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday announced a White House meeting on his promised steel and aluminum tariffs and again signaled close U.S. allies will receive exemptions.

“Looking forward to 3:30 P.M. meeting today at the White House,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “We have to protect & build our Steel and Aluminum Industries while at the same time showing great flexibility and cooperation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and the military.”

107 House Republicans Urge Trump To Narrow Tariff Proposal
Letter suggests steps that can be taken to 'minimize negative consequences'

Ways and Means Kevin Brady, R-Texas, led a letter of House Republicans urging the president to take steps to minimize negative consequences if he moves forward with his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Nearly half of the House Republican Conference sent a letter to President Donald Trump Wednesday expressing “deep concern” about his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and outlined steps he should take to minimize negative consequences.

Led by Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert, the letter reflects warnings that congressional Republicans have been communicating to Trump since he announced plans last week to impose a broadly applied 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.