House conservatives blast Trump tariff plan: 'arrogant’

House conservatives blast Trump tariff plan: 'arrogant’
© Getty Images
 
“Government imposed barriers to materials, labor and capital are disruptive to modern supply chains and represents liberal central-planning in its worst, most arrogant form,” the Republican Study Committee (RSC) said in a set of principles on trade.
 
Trump is expected to sign an order imposing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum on Thursday afternoon, though the White House floated the possibility that there could be a few exceptions to the rule. 
 
The RSC, which represents over half of the House GOP, said that “we strongly disagree with the imposition of punitive tariffs,” and argued that tariffs represented a tax on American consumers and producers alike.
 
White House economic adviser Gary Cohn resigned Tuesday over the policies, and high-level Republicans including Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi: 'Thug' Putin not welcome in Congress Interior fast tracks study of drilling's Arctic impact: report Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia MORE (Wis.) have been vocal in their opposition. 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradySenate panel advances Trump IRS nominee GOP looks to blunt Dems’ attacks on rising premiums Meet the woman who is Trump's new emissary to Capitol Hill MORE (R-Texas), the head of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, addressed the RSC earlier on Wednesday to discuss concerns over the trade policy, according to a source who was in the room.
 
The conservative House Freedom Caucus has been more circumspect in its approach to the policy, lobbying the president behind the scenes, but leaving public criticism more muted.
 
“I’m confident that the president is going to continue on a path that he believes is best for America overall, and that path has typically [been] one that would support this tariff initiative,” said Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsMeadows calls ex-Trump aide surveillance docs 'potentially groundbreaking development' Freedom Caucus lawmakers call on DOJ to probe Rosenstein allegations House GOP questions FBI lawyer for second day MORE (R-N.C.). 
 
Last week, Meadows criticized the Commerce Department recommendations on which Trump based his tariff decisions, saying the policy “ignores the reality that U.S. manufacturing will ultimately be the loser with these protectionist policies.”
 
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a conservative pro-business group, also raised concern Wednesday after days of silence on the matter.
 
“The U.S. Chamber is very concerned about the increasing prospects of a trade war, which would put at risk the economic momentum achieved through the administration’s tax and regulatory reforms,” Chamber President Thomas Donohue said.
 
— Scott Wong contributed.