President Trump is scheduled to sign controversial tariffs on imported steel and aluminum in the coming week over the objections of GOP lawmakers and key White House aides.
Trump announced Thursday he would impose a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. He said the tariffs were essential to protecting U.S. jobs and fightinbg back against foreign rivals flooding the market with cheap metal.
Republicans loudly booed Trump’s announcement, insisting the tariffs would hurt consumers by raising prices and leading trading partners to retaliate against U.S. goods.
“The speaker is hoping the president will consider the unintended consequences of this idea and look at other approaches before moving forward,” Doug Andres, a spokesman for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), said in a statement.
Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, also criticized the move.
“We have concerns, obviously, about actions taken that would create retaliatory action by some of our trading partners and our competitors out there, so I think, you know, we would like to see the White House adopt a, sort of, pro-free-trade position,” he said.
Trump though is doubling down in support of the tariffs. He said Friday morning that the U.S. economy would be stronger thanks to the new tariff regime, insisting that “trade wars are good and easy to win.”
“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win,” Trump tweeted.
“Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade any-we win big. It’s easy!”
U.S. trading partners have already threatened to retaliate against American exports.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland vowed to take “responsive measures” if the Trump administration imposes stiff tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum products.
“It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States,” Freeland said in a statement.
“Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers.”
The White House hasn’t revealed when exactly Trump will sign the tariffs in the week ahead. Expect Republican lawmakers to push for Trump to reconsider the issue as American manufacturers speak out against the tariffs.
The GOP is far unified on another front: rolling back banking regulations.
The Senate will vote on the most expansive bipartisan plan to loosen Dodd-Frank Act regulations on banks and financial firms.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Thursday that he would bring the bill, which would exempt dozens of banks from stricter federal oversight, to the floor.
McConnell has filed a motion to have a procedural vote Tuesday on the bill, sponsored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). Legislation addressing guns following the Florida high school shooting will wait.
The bill raises the threshold at which a bank is deemed big enough to warrant tighter oversight. It spikes the asset level at which a bank becomes “systemically important” from $50 billion to $250 billion, freeing dozens of regional banks from stringent rules.
Banks with less than $250 billion that aren’t otherwise targeted by the Fed would no longer be subject to yearly stress tests or higher capital requirements. Those banks will also be freed from the requirement to submit a yearly plan on how they would break apart in the event of a failure without triggering a credit crisis.
The bill is expected to be the focus of contentious debate. Republicans and moderate Democrats backing the bill have sought to dismiss criticism from the left that the measure goes too far to deregulate major banks.
Banking panel Democrats opposed to the bill have cited a slew of scandals involving foreign banks such as Deutsche Bank and Santander.
“Though Wall Street can’t seem to go a month without a new scandal, the Senate is set to take up a bill that would roll back critical financial stability protections and limit watchdogs’ ability to police the largest banks,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), the banking panel’s ranking Democrat.
“Why should big banks that have consistently failed to follow the rules benefit from regulatory rollbacks?”
Members of the Senate Banking Committee sought confirmation from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell during a hearing Thursday that the Dodd-Frank rollback bill would benefit the economy.
Powell, a Republican who has previously supported several provisions of the bill, signaled support for much of the measure but did not explicitly endorse it.
“I think it gives us the tools that we need to continue to protect financial stability,” Powell said. “We have broad safety and soundness authority.”
Your week ahead:
- Senate votes to begin debate on the Crapo bill (S. 2155) to ease Dodd-Frank banking rules
- Senate Finance Committee: Hearing on protecting consumers from counterfeit products sold online, 10 a.m.
- House Appropriations Committee: Hearing on the fiscal 2019 budget request for the Treasury Department, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin , 10 a.m.
- House Financial Services Committee: Markup of fiscal 2019 budget views, 10 a.m.
- House Financial Services Committee: Hearing entitled: “Legislative Review of H.R. 5059, the State Insurance Regulation Preservation Act”
- Joint Economic Committee: Hearing on the White House economic report with Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett, 2 p.m.
- House Financial Services Committee: Hearing entitled: “Legislative Proposals to Reform the Current Data Security and Breach Notification Regulatory Regime,” 2 p.m.
Recap the week with Overnight Finance:
- Monday: What to expect from Fed chair’s testimony | Treasury gets check for Trump hotel’s foreign profits | Trump meets credit union advocates over easing lending rules
- Tuesday: Inside Powell’s first hearing as Fed chair | Markets retreat | Bank profits fall in fourth quarter | Report raises new concerns about Kushner’s business ties
- Wednesday: GOP lawmakers step up fight to save NAFTA | SEC launches cryptocurrency probe | US economic growth revised down | Gun stocks falter since Florida shooting
- Thursday: Trump to impose new steel, aluminum tariffs | GOP boos decision | Canada threatens payback | Markets drop on fears of trade war | Senate plows ahead with Dodd-Frank rollback
- Trump doubles down on tariffs: ‘Trade wars are good, and easy to win,’ by Jordan Fabian
- Trump: ‘If you don’t have steel, you don’t have a country,’ by Brandon Carter
- White House’s Sanders doesn’t believe Cohn will resign over tariffs, by Jordan Fabian
- Stocks open with sharp losses as Trump touts tariffs, by Sylvan Lane
- Tax, spending laws will add $2.4 trillion to debt: watchdog, by Niv Elis
- Equifax says consumer bureau still probing hack despite report it eased off, by Sylvan Lane
- Wilbur Ross uses tall boy to tout steel tariffs, by Vicki Needham
- Protester carried away by police during Mnuchin speech at UCLA, by Morgan Gstaler
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