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GOP chairman urges Trump to change direction on tariffs

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GOP chairman urges Trump to change direction on tariffs

A top Senate Republican is expressing deep concerns that President Trump ’s latest call for tariffs will undermine the tax-cut law expected to bolster the nation’s economic growth.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Tuesday sent a letter to the president urging him to refocus his efforts on opening markets for U.S. exports without hurting domestic businesses and consumers. 

“The tariffs, if implemented, would not be paid by foreign steel and aluminum manufacturers,” Hatch wrote.

“I am particularly troubled that the impact of these proposed tariffs would undermine the overwhelming and immediate success of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that we worked together to bring into law,” he said. 

Hatch argues that the proposed across-the-board 25 percent tariffs on all imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum “would miss those countries whose unfair trade practices have caused global overcapacities in steel and aluminum and would hit American businesses and families instead.”

Hatch, whose committee oversees trade issues, has joined the growing ranks of congressional Republicans in opposing sweeping tariffs on all imports of the two oft-used metals in domestic manufacturing. 

The chairman’s counterparts on the House Ways and Means Committee are readying a similar letter that outlines several changes that would narrow Trump’s tariff policy.

“Raising taxes on steel and aluminum importers will increase production costs for American manufacturers and raise prices on American consumers that rely on steel and aluminum products,” Hatch wrote.

“History has demonstrated repeatedly that consumers — American families and taxpayers — ultimately bear the burden of tariffs on these kinds of imports,” he wrote. 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said earlier Tuesday that Trump is expected to announce a final plan sometime this week.

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