Corker lashes fellow Republicans for being afraid of Trump

Sergio Conner
June 17, 2018

In a passionate speech on the Senate floor, Corker argued that Republicans were blocking his trade proposal because they feared what Trump might do to the party if they upset him ahead of an election. "I think we will feel them in Tennessee".

After a broad bipartisan amendment to rein in President Donald Trump's ability to slap tariffs on trading partners appeared to be gaining steam, it quickly dissipated when it became clear top Republicans could not stomach legislation to which Trump will take offense. "The president of the United States might get upset with us, '" Corker mocked his colleagues as saying.

But, "is leadership in general not wishing to poke the bear?" he asked.

Corker, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, criticized the president for overstepping his authority on slapping tariffs on aluminum and steel by simply claiming they were a national security interest.

"I think it's ridiculous people can't vote on amendments".

Trump has recently used discretionary tariff powers, delegated for the president's use for reasons of national security, to levy taxes on imports of aluminum and steel from even close American allies.

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"We as senators, we're anxious somehow that this guy, gosh almighty, I heard the senior senator from Texas [John Cornyn] saying the other day, 'Well, gosh, we might upset the president".

Corker has talked with the President about his amendment and Trump tried to dissuade the senator from pushing for it, to no avail.

"I can't believe it. "Gosh, we might poke the bear" is the language I've been hearing in the hallways", Corker said. If people don't like it, they can vote up or down. We can't do that because we'd be upsetting the president, the president of the United States.

"We are in a odd place", the Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee told reporters in Washington. "We are the ones that, per the Constitution, have been charge with the ability - actually the responsibility to deal with tariffs; to deal with revenues".

But Senator James Inhofe, the Republican who is managing debate on the defense bill, blocked the amendment as inappropriate for the legislation, preventing a vote.

Corker last week was told that his amendment may have a so-called "blue slip" issue should it reach the House of Representatives, a technical issue that requires revenue-related legislation to originate in the House.

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