Bob Corker says GOP cowers before Trump after party leaders block trade amendment

WASHINGTON – Senate GOP leaders blocked a vote Tuesday on legislation that would give Congress veto power over certain presidential tariffs – prompting Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., to accuse his Republican colleagues of being afraid to vote against President Donald Trump.

“‘Gosh, we might poke the bear’ is the language I’ve been hearing in the hallways,” Corker, who authored the amendment in question, said in a fiery floor speech.

“We might poke the bear. The president might get upset with us as United States senators if we vote on the Corker amendment, so we’re going to do everything we can to block it,” said Corker, who is retiring at year’s end.

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. Corker had assembled a bipartisan coalition of more than a dozen senators to sign onto his bill, which would have given Congress veto power over tariffs issued in the name of national security, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other members of leadership had been cool to it all along. McConnell termed it an “exercise in futility” becauseTrump would never sign such legislation.

Tuesday’s outcome probably ensures that despite the GOP’s longstanding support of free trade, and Republicans’ discomfort with many of Trump’s protectionist moves, the president will continue to have a free hand as he upends U.S. trade policy established over decades. Corker did not hide his frustration.

“The United States Senate, right now, on June 12, is becoming a body where, well, we’ll do what we can do, but my gosh, if the president gets upset with us, then we might not be in the majority,” Corker said. “And so let’s …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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