McConnell: Senate won't pass bill reining in Trump's tariff authority

McConnell: Senate won't pass bill reining in Trump's tariff authority
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 6B defense bill Poll: Kim Jong Un has higher approval among Republicans than Pelosi The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Outcry raises pressure on GOP for immigration fix MORE (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday that the Senate will not pass legislation reining in President TrumpDonald John Trump20 weeks out from midterms, Dems and GOP brace for surprises Sessions responds to Nazi comparisons: 'They were keeping the Jews from leaving' Kim Jong Un to visit Beijing this week MORE's tariff authority, despite frustration within the caucus about the administration's recent trade actions.

"We're not going to be, in the Senate, passing a bill preventing the president from what he can legally do under current law," McConnell told Fox News on Wednesday night. 

Pressed about legislation from Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSenate chaplain offers prayer 'as children are being separated from their parents' Senate passes 6B defense bill This week: House GOP caught in immigration limbo MORE (R-Tenn.), McConnell added: "We're not going to be passing that in the Senate." 

McConnell's comments come as a bipartisan group of senators, led by Corker, introduced legislation that would require Trump to get congressional approval if he wants to implement tariffs under the national security provisions of the trade law, referred to as Section 232. 

Trump sparked backlash among congressional Republicans after the administration announced late last week that they were slapping steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, ending temporary exemptions for the key trading allies. 

Republicans worry that Trump's moves could roil the economy months before a midterm election and overshadow their tax-reform bill passed late last year. 

McConnell added during his interview with Fox News that he wasn't "thrilled" about the administration's tariff decisions. 

But Republican leadership has shown little interest in picking a fight with Trump over tariffs. 

McConnell told SiriusXM earlier Wednesday that he would not support Corker's legislation, adding that it was an "exercise in futility." 

His comments on Wednesday come after he told reporters on Tuesday that he would not bring Corker's legislation up as a stand-alone bill but noted that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would be open for amendment. 

McConnell also said late last week at an event in Kentucky that there was "not much" Congress could do legislatively on tariffs.