Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Mitch McConnell cancels most of Senate's August break, blames it on Democrats

Senators to introduce bill reining in Trump's tariff authority Greg Nash
Judith Alexander | 10 June, 2018, 09:42

Corker and other Republicans are pushing back on Trump's decision late last month to impose steep steel and aluminium tariffs on US allies, a move that analysts said pushed the United States closer to a trade war. It's something Corker acknowledged to reporters when he noted that "doing anything up here is like pushing a major boulder uphill".

"We have a lot of tactics available to us", Toomey said of his leverage to force a vote on tariffs.

Joining Corker in introducing the plan was Democratic Sen.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee says he met privately with other senators Monday and is drawing interest from both parties in such a measure.

Conservative lawmakers and groups have been pressing McConnell to keep lawmakers in session to address almost 150 federal judicial vacancies - a number Democrats attribute to GOP delaying tactics during President Barack Obama's last years in office.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been reluctant to buck the president, has yet to commit to bringing Corker's amendment for a vote.

Senators who attended the White House meeting included some members of the GOP leadership team, including Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri and Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming. But the Senate version carries a warning to Trump, with a trade provision to block any White House plan to lift penalties on the China-based telecommunications company ZTE, which faces trade law violations over selling sensitive technologies to USA adversaries.

Asked if those powers of persuasion were effective, Cornyn cracked a grin.

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"It's a difference of opinion", Corker said. He reluctantly signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill in March as a matter of national security.

That means it would undercut what has become a primary weapon in the administration's hardline ongoing trade negotiations with countries across the world - including close US allies in the EU, Canada and Mexico. "NDAA is certainly one of them but it is open to amendment and we'll see what happens as it moves across the floor". Some critics of his recent trade moves also were there, including farm-state Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

In a statement on May 24, Corker said that President Trump "abusing the authorities granted to him in Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962" was part of "a unsafe course and should be abandoned immediately".

Corker's effort has been bolstered by another strong-willed supporter: Pennsylvania GOP Sen.

Democrats point to analyses that say insurers were starting to break even and would have requested modest increases for next year, only to see Republicans step in and scrap the main prod for getting healthy people to sign up.

Republicans said Senate Democrats have forced 100 procedural votes to free up Trump's executive and judicial nominees, which they said was far more than the six previous presidents combined had experienced during their first two years in office.

But many Republicans senators hailed the decision, saying they were willing to give up some of their downtime to catch up on the Senate's work.

"What the Republicans have done to damage [health care] can be undone tomorrow but if they want to keep us through August to do it, I'll be on the job", he told CNN on Wednesday. Dean Heller of Nevada, who is facing reelection in a state Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. "Americans deserve representatives who put in the work necessary to accomplish what they were sent to Washington to get done", he said.

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