McConnell: 'Unlikely' Congress will try to block Trump tariffs

McConnell: 'Unlikely' Congress will try to block Trump tariffs
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash House passes bipartisan bill to boost business investment MORE (R-Ky.) indicated Tuesday that the Senate won't try to use legislation to halt President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE's steel and aluminum tariffs, noting it’s improbable the president would sign such a bill. 

"I like to use floor time in the Senate for things that actually have a chance to become law. ... I think it's highly unlikely we would be dealing with that in a legislative way," McConnell said. 

Trump announced late last week that he would slap steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum despite days of public pleas and frantic behind-the-scenes work from congressional Republicans for him to back down. 

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GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeKelly lobbied Republicans to rebuke Trump after Putin press conference: report Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash Flake to Trump: 'Fake news' didn't side with Putin, you did MORE (Ariz.) introduced legislation on Monday to nullify the tariffs. But any bill would face an uphill battle given that it would either need Trump's signature or enough support to override a veto. 

McConnell added on Tuesday that the chances Trump would support such a bill are "remote at best."

"Well on the trade issue ... the administration pretty much has ball control. The thought that the president would sign a bill that would undo actions he's taken strikes me as remote," he said.

Republicans are widely opposed to the tariffs. But McConnell, his leadership team and House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Kelly lobbied Republicans to rebuke Trump after Putin press conference: report Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) have signaled they will try to get the administration to narrow the financial penalties instead of halting them.

McConnell added that there is "a lot of concern" within the caucus, and members are continuing to talk to the administration.