GOP senators to meet with Trump to push back on tariffs

GOP senators to meet with Trump to push back on tariffs
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Senate Republicans will meet with 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 at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to raise concerns about his trade strategy, which has led to threats of retaliation from the nation’s biggest trade partners.

GOP senators said they received invitations from the White House last night and are expected to head down Pennsylvania Avenue shortly after 3 p.m.

Trump's decision to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel imports has set off fears of a larger trade war. Canada, Mexico and the European Union have all announced plans to retaliate against U.S. exports, and farm-state lawmakers fear U.S. agriculture could be hit hard.

Trump has also discussed imposing tariffs on imports of foreign cars.

“If the president can get a better deal, I'm for a better deal, but you've got to understand that if you fail and there’s retaliation, agriculture is the first that’s retaliated against,” said Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate GOP poised to break record on Trump's court picks This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Kavanaugh paper chase heats up MORE (R-Iowa), who represents a state where agriculture is dominant.

Mexico announced Tuesday that it will impose a 20 percent tariff on U.S. pork. Iowa is by far the biggest pork producer in the United States.  

GOP senators want to sit down with Trump to get a "better understanding of the end goals" of his trade strategy, according to a senior congressional aide.
The president also appears to be growing more concerned about GOP support for a bill sponsored by Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash Trump seeks to quell Russia furor MORE (R-Tenn.) that would require him to get congressional approval before imposing new tariffs justified by national security concerns.

Trump called Corker on Wednesday morning to try to persuade him to hold off on introducing the bill.

He argued that Corker’s bill could undercut his negotiating leverage with Mexico and Canada as he tries to restructure the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. 

Corker told Trump that his bill would not hurt his ability to negotiate and pledged to go ahead with it. 

"He expressed his concerns and I expressed my reasons for thinking this was exactly the right thing to do," Corker said. "He feels like it takes away his negotiating ability. It doesn't do that at all."