Cowardly GOP Senate passes toothless measure against Trump's trade war


Republicans still refuse to stand up to Trump, even as red states take big hits.

Refusing to pass actual legislation to stop Trump from imposing reckless tariffs, Republicans on Wednesday instead opted to support a nonbinding Senate resolution.

The toothless measure passed 88-11.

Some Republicans, like Sen. Jeff Flake, claimed the vote represented a move to "rein in the President’s abuse of trade authority."

But all the resolution did was politely request that lawmakers have more say before a president imposes tariffs based on claims of national security.

Trump has indeed abused his authority this year by using national security as an excuse to start an irresponsible trade war that puts jobs at risk, especially in red states.

But Trump has made clear that he won't listen to polite requests, and it's clear that Republicans have no interest in forcing him to do anything he doesn't want to do.

Democrats also supported the nonbinding resolution — but unlike Republicans in the Senate, they don't have the power to do much more than that.

The resolution was sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who tried and failed to get a binding vote on similar tariff legislation last month. Republicans refused to back it, knowing the White House would not approve — which led Corker to suggest the GOP suffered from a "cult-like" devotion to Trump.

Corker still votes with Trump 84 percent of the time, however, including for health care cuts that would have left half a million people uninsured in Tennessee. And Corker has failed to impress other Trump critics by only converting from Trump supporter to Trump basher after announcing his retirement.

Just this week, the Trump administration added more fuel to the trade fire by announcing a possible second round of tariffs targeting a $200 billion list of Chinese goods.

To date, as Trump's trade war has spiraled out of control, now nearly 10,000 products have been targeted.

Politically, the tariff issue continues to gain momentum as the midterm election season unfolds. Specifically, red state Republicans are being forced to defend tariffs that are set to do deep damage to local economies.

That's especially true in agricultural states, where exports markets that U.S. farmers have developed in recent decades are now being closed off thanks to Trump.

"Right now, on soybeans and corn in my state, it is catastrophic with the dramatic drops in prices that we’ve had,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told CNN on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin-based Harley-Davidson announced last month it was moving some motorcycle production overseas.

In Missouri, the country’s largest nail manufacturer, Mid-Continent Nail — located in a county that voted 79 percent for Trump — announced that thanks to Trump, it was shedding hundreds of jobs and will likely have to shut down by Labor Day.

To date, several GOP senators have loudly denounced Trump’s trade war, attacking it as “damaging” and “dumb."

But they don't the have the courage to do more than offer up sound bites and support non-binding resolutions.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.