U.S. Senate backs non-binding tariff measure, minor snub of Trump
(Recasts with context, adds Corker comment)
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON, July 11 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate made a minor
effort to push back against President Donald Trump's trade
policies on Wednesday by backing a non-binding motion to give
Congress a role in his decisions to impose tariffs for national
The vote was 88-11 in favor of the measure, part of an
effort led by some of Trump's fellow Republicans who support
free trade to resist the president's escalating effort to
address what he sees as unfair foreign trade.
They worry that trade disputes with China, as well as with
allies like western European nations and Canada, could damage
the U.S. economy by harming U.S. employers and raising prices
The vote came as China accused the United States of bullying
and warned it would hit back after the Trump administration
raised the stakes in a trade dispute by threatening 10 percent
tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
However, the Senate's Republican leaders have not yet
allowed a binding vote on legislation introduced in June to
require congressional approval of any tariffs imposed for
national security reasons.
Republicans, who have majorities in both the Senate and
House of Representatives, have backed almost all of Trump's
initiatives since he became president in January 2017.
Some lawmakers have spoken out against his policies on trade
and in other areas but they have not used tactics such as
withholding votes for his nominees as a way of influencing the
The measure's main sponsors - Republican Senators Bob
Corker, Jeff Flake and Pat Toomey - said they considered
Wednesday's action a "test vote" on the issue.
Corker acknowledged in remarks in the Senate that the vote
was a "baby step" but said he would continue to push for a
binding vote and was "hopeful" that one would be scheduled in
the near future.
The non-binding measure approved on Wednesday was a "motion
to instruct" lawmakers finalizing a water and energy spending
bill to ensure that Congress plays a role in implementing such
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle
Editing by Dan Grebler and Bill Trott)
First Published: 2018-07-11 19:04:47
Updated 2018-07-11 20:39:22
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