Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Wednesday backed President Donald Trump’s authority to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union, following a closed-door meeting at the White House, The Hill reports.
“Now is not the time to undercut President Trump’s ability to negotiate better trade deals. I will not support any efforts that weaken his position," Graham said in a statement.
Senators, he added should "give the president the time and ability to achieve his goals.”
His comments come the same day Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., pushed forward with legislation to curb Trump’s ability to impose tariffs despite objections from Trump himself.
"I talked at length with the president about it today. He's obviously not pleased with this effort," Corker told reporters.
"I am a United States senator, and I have responsibilities and I'm going to continue to carry them out," he added.
Six Republicans and four Democrats signed on to the bill, which would require congressional approval for tariffs levied for national security reasons. The Trump administration last week announced it would slap steep steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union.
Trump is using Section 232 of the trade law, which allows tariffs to be placed on imports in the name of national security, but many lawmakers argue the penalties do not meet the qualifications under the provision.
GOP Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Chuck Grassley of Iowa also attended the meeting. Fischer said she was "encouraged," while Grassley warned Trump to "be careful in dealings or else agriculture is the first to be retaliated against” according to the Hill.
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