Senate sends Trump a warning shot on tariffs

The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a nonbinding resolution that warns President Trump against abusing his authority to impose tariffs on imports for national security reasons.

[Also read: China vows retaliation after $200B tariff threat from US]

The vast majority of Republicans and every Senate Democrat supported a motion to instruct, which would would direct a House-Senate committee to include language in a spending bill that would give Congress a say in tariffs imposed by the White House for a national security purposes. The motion passed 88-11.

[Jeff Flake says Senate will vote on resolution opposing Trump’s tariffs]

The vote was non-binding, however, and conferees to the committee do not have to follow it. But it reflects a growing worry in Congress that Trump is imposing national security tariffs against U.S. trading partners that is leading to retaliation that could hurt U.S. companies.

The vote was pushed for weeks by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., all of whom had been critical of the president’s decision to slap Canada, Mexico, and European allies with tariffs under the guise of national security.

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