Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate Majority Leader, has been urging the GOP senators to call President Donald Trump and express his opposition with the tariffs amidst the mounting worries that the China trade war could damage the Republican Senate candidates during the elections.
Mitch McConnell told his GOP colleagues on Tuesday at a private lunch to call up Trump and convey their views regarding the matter. President Donald Trump’s plan on imposing tariffs of up to 150 billion dollars on imports for China was being discussed throughout the lunch.
“This was a big topic at our lunch today. I don’t know of any Republican that supports tariffs in the Senate,” said Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairman, who has always been an open critic of President Donald Trump’s trade policies.
When asked if any decision was arrived upon at the lunch, Pat Roberts stated, “Yeah, call the President.”
Cory Gardner (Colo.), the National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman, said to his colleagues that the tariffs might have a negative impact on the farm state economies, which are known to be the crucial battlegrounds for the Senate’s control.
“We were doing so well. We passed the tax cuts, we passed the Dodd-Frank rollback, we have deregulation, the job market is strong and now we’re going to [mess] it up,” claimed a GOP senator.
The commodity prices have been falling since the idea that a trade war might take place between China and the U.S, giving the Democratic candidates a chance to create an issue and go against the President.
“Seventy percent of all of our soybeans, which is our largest cash crop, are destined for the Pacific Rim, the bulk of which goes to China,” stated Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.). “That’s why I’m working aggressively to prevent this from happening and to encourage the powers that be to step back from the ledge and think of a different policy.”
“We manufacture a lot of large farm equipment. Anywhere from 30 to 60 percent of import costs in that farm equipment is steel and prices are already going up,” added Heitkamp.
Gardner has claimed that these tariffs might not prove to be beneficial for families in the farm state. “To be clear, I don’t support a tariff track,” said Gardener in a statement. “It’s not good for farm states, it’s not good for anyone.”
Gardner has also said that he understands the concerns the U.S has about the Chinese theft of intellectual property and that the Chinese government is adamant about forming a venture with the U.S businesses present in their country.
“There is quite a bit of concern, and I share that concern that some of the retaliation may target some of our ag states and some of those states where we have real potential in terms of picking up Senate seats,” said the Senate Republican Whip, John Cornyn (Texas).
President Donald Trump has promised to offer federal support to the farmers that will be affected by these retaliatory trade measures.
“I told [U.S. Trade Representative] Bob Lighthizer last evening when I had a very nice talk with him and I said, ‘Look, we don’t want another subsidy program,’ ” said Roberts. “Just give us a market and sell our product. We need an export sale.”