Bill reining in Trump on tariffs blocked in Senate
© Greg Nash

Legislation reining in President TrumpDonald John TrumpAl Gore: Trump has had 'less of an impact on environment so far than I feared' Trump claims tapes of him saying the 'n-word' don't exist Trump wanted to require staffers to get permission before writing books: report MORE's tariff authority was blocked from getting a vote in the Senate on Tuesday.

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerGOP leaders: No talk of inviting Russia delegation to Capitol Collins and Murkowski face recess pressure cooker on Supreme Court Tougher Russia sanctions face skepticism from Senate Republicans MORE (R-Tenn.) was trying to attach his bill as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). His legislation, which is backed by roughly a dozen senators, would require congressional approval if Trump wanted to enact tariffs in the name of national security.

Corker tried to bring up his bill and schedule a vote but was blocked by GOP Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofePence announces first steps in establishing 'Space Force' EPA chief: Obama car rule rollback would save consumers 0B EPA’s Wheeler gets warmer welcome at Senate hearing MORE (Okla.), who is managing the defense bill for Republicans.

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Inhofe noted he had talked to members of the House, who were "strenuously" objecting to the inclusion of Corker's amendment in the defense policy bill. He added that he would help Corker look for another bill to attach his tariff legislation to.

"I will do all I [can] to help him to get that on as an amendment, but not to the defense authorization bill. I think this would cause a lot of damage. The House agrees with this," Inhofe said.

Trump has sparked backlash from Republicans over slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report Republican strategist: Trump is 'driven by ego' Senate GOP campaign arm asking Trump to endorse McSally in Arizona: report MORE (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the administration should avoid a "full-scale trade war" and he was "optimistic" that they would.

But GOP leadership has shown no interest in taking up legislation that would rein in Trump on tariffs, arguing the president wouldn't sign such a bill and that they don't want to pick a fight months before the midterm election.

Corker ripped his GOP colleagues from the Senate floor, arguing they are afraid of provoking backlash from Trump.

" 'Gosh, we might poke the bear,' that is the language I've been hearing in the hallways. 'We might poke the bear,' " Corker said during his floor speech.

The back-and-forth on the floor comes after Inhofe said earlier Tuesday that Corker was blocking votes on any amendment to the NDAA unless he could get a vote on his tariff proposal. More than 300 amendments have been filed to the bill; it's unclear how many, if any, will get a vote.

Corker added on Tuesday that he is no longer holding up amendments saying it was "ridiculous" and "childish" he and other senators couldn't get a vote.

"For he last year and a half ... under Leader McConnell, we have had one amendment vote. On amendment vote," he said.

Corker separately told reporters that the "powers that be" would block him from getting a vote as part of the NDAA and that he would, instead, look for another piece of legislation to attach his legislation to.

Asked if he was "giving up" for now, Corker fired back at a reporter: "It's blocked! I'm not giving the fight up, it's blocked. I cannot offer the amendment because they're objecting it. I'm not giving up."