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 McConnellYou just can't keep good health policy down Trump threatens to veto omnibus over lack of wall funding, DACA fix Democrats desperate for a win hail spending bill MORE (R-Ky.) indicated Tuesday that the Senate won't try to use legislation to halt President TrumpDonald John TrumpScarborough mocks 'Deflection Don' over transgender troop ban Pelosi condemns Trump's 'cowardly, disgusting' ban on transgender troops Trump moves to ban most transgender people from serving in military 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. 

GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBernie Sanders to Trump: Firing Mueller 'an impeachable offense' Overnight Health Care: House passes .3T omnibus | Bill boosts funds for NIH, opioid treatment | Senators spar over ObamaCare fix | 'Right to Try' bill heads to the Senate The Hill's 12:30 Report 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 RyanYou just can't keep good health policy down Trump blasts Congress for sending him omnibus bill that 'nobody read' Students bash Congress for inaction on gun control 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.