Senators are moving forward with legislation that would curb President TrumpDonald John TrumpWayfair refutes QAnon-like conspiracy theory that it's trafficking children Stone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can't withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities MORE's authority on tariffs, despite opposition from the White House.

"If the president truly believes invoking Section 232 is necessary to protect the United States from a genuine threat, he should make the case to Congress and to the American people and do the hard work necessary to secure congressional approval," Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE (R-Tenn.) said in a statement announcing the bill.

ADVERTISEMENT

In addition to Corker, Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA MORE (D-N.D.), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyGOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy NSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general MORE (R-Pa.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerGOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' Senators press IRS chief on stimulus check pitfalls Hillicon Valley: Facebook takes down 'boogaloo' network after pressure | Election security measure pulled from Senate bill | FCC officially designating Huawei, ZTE as threats MORE (D-Va.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderConservative group launches ad campaign for Rep. Roger Marshall in Kansas Senate race Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report Sixth GOP senator unlikely to attend Republican convention MORE (R-Tenn.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzCensus workers prepare to go door-knocking in pandemic Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs Overnight Defense: Lawmakers demand answers on reported Russian bounties for US troops deaths in Afghanistan | Defense bill amendments target Germany withdrawal, Pentagon program giving weapons to police MORE (D-Hawaii), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Romney, Collins, Murkowski won't attend GOP convention MORE (R-Wis.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenMaryland GOP governor who's criticized Trump says he's considering 2024 presidential run Communist China won't change — until its people and the West demand it Senate passes sanctions bill targeting China over Hong Kong law MORE (D-Md.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Gianforte halts in-person campaigning after wife, running mate attend event with Guilfoyle Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers to address alarming spike in coronavirus cases MORE (R-Utah), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE (R-Ariz.), Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseMeadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Chamber of Commerce endorses Cornyn for reelection MORE (R-Neb.) and Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Is Georgia reaching a tipping point? Democrats hope for tidal moment in Georgia with two Senate seats in play GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle MORE (R-Ga.) are supporting the bill.

"There is no real national security threat that these tariffs are a response to. They are an effort to impose a protectionist policy for economic purposes," Toomey said in a floor speech blasting the administration's decisions.

The bill would require Trump to submit tariffs implemented under Section 232 of the trade law for approval to Congress. Any approval legislation would then be fast-tracked through both chambers.

Senators are introducing the legislation despite receiving pushback from Trump, who earlier on Wednesday privately urged Corker not to file his bill.

“I talked at length with the president about it today. He's obviously not pleased with this effort,” Corker separately told reporters.

Corker added that Trump's main message in the phone call, which the president initiated, was for Corker to not move forward with the proposal.

But congressional Republicans are becoming increasingly frustrated with Trump's trade policy, which they worry could roil the economy just months before a midterm election. 

The administration ratcheted up long-simmering tensions late last week when they announced that they would subject steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union to steep tariffs, ending an exemption for the trading allies.

A group of GOP senators met with Trump on Wednesday at the White House to discuss trade. The meeting was organized by GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K Democrats see immigration reform as topping Biden agenda Graham says he will call Mueller to testify before Senate panel about Russia probe MORE (S.C.).

“I think Sen. Graham, who is the leader of that meeting, just wants to talk to the president about his end game,” Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Campaign Report: Runoff elections in Texas, Alabama set for Tuesday Overnight Health Care: White House goes public with attacks on Fauci | Newsom orders California to shut down indoor activities, all bar operations | Federal judges block abortion ban laws in Tennessee, Georgia Trump administration extends support for Texas COVID-19 testing sites MORE (R-Texas) told reporters when asked about the meeting.

Graham said after the closed-door meeting that Trump is "on track to get us better trade deals" and signaled he will oppose Corker's legislation.

“Now is not the time to undercut President Trump’s ability to negotiate better trade deals. I will not support any efforts that weaken his position," Graham said in a statement.

Notably missing from the supporters of Corker's bill are members of Senate GOP leadership.

Some GOP senators are wary of picking a fight with Trump, saying lawmakers should focus on trying to change the president’s mind. 

"I'm not sure right at this particular time it's advisable. ... My preference would be to convince the president that perhaps he should take a different approach," Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsThe Hill's Campaign Report: Runoff elections in Texas, Alabama set for Tuesday Conservative group launches ad campaign for Rep. Roger Marshall in Kansas Senate race Pence says decision on removing Confederate statues should be made locally MORE (R-Kan.) told reporters. 

Pressed if that strategy was working, Roberts acknowledged, "to date, no." 

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) added that while he is reviewing Corker's legislation, he still believes "that the president is too smart to start a trade war." 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell in talks with Mnuchin on next phase of coronavirus relief Pelosi: 'We shouldn't even be thinking' about reopening schools without federal aid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters on Tuesday that he would not bring up the tariff legislation as a stand-alone bill but noted the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was open to amendment.

“I'm not going to call it up free-standing. You're suggesting it might be offered as an amendment. NDAA's going to be opened, we'll see what amendments are offered,” McConnell said, asked about Corker's bill.

Corker has pointed to the NDAA as one potential vehicle for his tariff legislation. But getting the bill brought up as an amendment to the defense policy bill would require the consent of every senator.

Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad Republicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names Senate rejects Paul proposal on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan MORE (R-Okla.), who is managing the bill in the absence of Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain's reset: US-Vietnam relations going strong after 25 years Senate outlook slides for GOP Juan Williams: Time for boldness from Biden MORE (R-Ariz.), said he thought Corker would ultimately be able to get a vote. 

"I think it will. In fact, I told Corker that I would not object to it," Inhofe said, while noting he would vote against the amendment. 

Asked if he thought Corker's bill should get a vote as part of the NDAA, Cornyn said the Senate should have an "open amendment process." 

"It's the source of a lot of frustration here among members when people are denied an opportunity to vote. Back in the good old days ... we used to have [a] much more open amendment process," he said. 

But the process for setting up roll call votes on amendments to the NDAA has ground to a halt in recent years as senators object to a vote on any amendment unless they can also get a vote on their own proposals.

Cornyn noted on Wednesday that there are already objections to amendments as lawmakers jockey for leverage, which could complicate Corker's quest to add his tariff legislation to the defense policy bill.

Business groups, considered a long-standing ally of Republicans, quickly backed Corker's bill.

Neil Bradley, the executive vice president and chief policy officer for the Chamber of Commerce, said on Wednesday that there was concern that Trump's tariff decision would cost American jobs. 

"The constitutional authority of the Congress to 'regulate foreign trade' and its oversight of tariff policy is unambiguous. The modest proposal to clarify congressional prerogatives is welcome and long overdue," Bradley added.

There is no sign that the House is prepared to introduce similar legislation. Asked about the tariff legislation on Wednesday, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBush, Romney won't support Trump reelection: NYT Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why Lobbying world MORE (Wis.) noted that Trump would have to sign the bill.

“You would have to pass a law that he would want to sign into law,” he told reporters. “You can do the math on that.”

Updated at 7:03 p.m.