Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Senate will not 'poke the bear' Trump by passing tariff measure: lawmaker


U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., today took to the Senate floor to denounce Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues for not allowing a vote on his proposal to require congressional approval of proposed tariffs by the president. Add Republican Party as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Republican Party news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

"'We might poke the bear' is the language I have been hearing in the hallways", he said.

"[But] is leadership in general not wishing to poke the bear?"

Bob Corker ripped into his party Tuesday for sidestepping a vote on his amendment to roll back U.S. President Donald Trump's trade authority - by blocking it altogether.

Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns about the Trump administration's tariffs, but they've also been unwilling to embrace Corker's amendment over both procedural issues and broader concerns about undercutting Trump's negotiating position. But even as he called for the Republicans to simply give his amendment an up-or-down vote, he acknowledged that there's no way it will actually happen.

Corker dismissed those objections as he went on a tear against his Republican colleagues. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, objected to the motion.

Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to negotiate better trade deals to bring back US manufacturing jobs, has pursued aggressive measures against trading partners from China to Canada, Mexico and USA allies in Europe.

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Corker, a Tennessee lawmaker who is retiring in January, is increasingly open about his frustrations with Trump's trade and other policies.

"Because senators, United States senators who are elected by the people in their state, don't want to cast a tough vote, they block everybody from voting", Corker said.

Referencing Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, Corker said, "I heard the senator from Texas, the senior senator from Texas, saying the other day, 'Well, gosh, we might upset the president".

The leadership move, which blocked Corker from including his legislation as an amendment on a pending defense bill, probably killed it for good - and with it, Congress's best chance of taking any action to confront Trump on trade.

Before this week, Corker had failed to say whether he'd support President Trump in 2020.

"I can't believe it", continued Corker. And a lot of them would vote for it if it came to a vote. "But no, the United States Senate right now, on June 12, is becoming a body where, well, we can do what we can do, but my gosh if the president gets upset with us, we might not be in the majority, and so let's not do anything that might upset the president".

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