Trump floats new emergency declaration to impose Mexico tariffs

Senate Republicans said Tuesday that the administration has floated declaring a second national emergency to implement new tariffs on Mexico, a move that would set up a high-stakes clash with Congress. 
GOP senators emerged from a closed-door lunch with White House deputy counsel Pat Philbin and Justice Department officials saying the issue was discussed during the meeting, but that the administration indicated it had not yet reached a resolution on whether or not it would need to take the controversial step.
Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonJuan Williams: Hypocrisy runs riot in GOP Graham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents Partisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission MORE (R-Wis.) told reporters that Republican senators pressed administration officials during the lunch on whether or not there would need to be a new national emergency declaration. 
"I think that was somewhat up in the air. … I think that's a distinct possibility but I don't think there's any definitive answer," Johnson added.  
Sen. Mike RoundsMike RoundsIndigenous groups post billboards urging senators to confirm Deb Haaland Powell pushes back on GOP inflation fears Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March MORE (R-S.D.) said that the administration is still "working through" if Trump would need to declare a national emergency in order to move forward with the tariffs. 
"The way they put it was, they’re still working through all the details on it and they have not decided what their approach is going to be yet with regard to that. That was my understanding," Rounds said. 
Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) said that a new national emergency declaration was discussed during the lunch, while Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThis week: Senate takes up coronavirus relief after minimum wage setback Lobbying world Powell pushes back on GOP inflation fears MORE (R-S.C.) told reporters that the White House indicated it would need a new declaration. 

Trump says he will impose the tariffs on Mexico under the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act as soon as next week unless Mexico cracks down on the flow of migrants from Central America across the southern border.
But declaring a second national emergency, after Trump used the tool earlier this year to sidestep Congress on border funding, would pave the way for a significant fight with Senate Republicans, who have publicly and privately voiced opposition to the tariffs. 
A new national emergency declaration, GOP senators say, would set up a new resolution of disapproval vote in an attempt to block the tariffs from going into effect. 
"Within our own groups I think we recognize that we may very well have another vote coming up," Rounds said. 
Johnson added the the administration "would have to be concerned" about a resolution of disapproval vote, saying "tariffs are not real popular in the Republican conference." 
The Senate passed a previous resolution of disapproval earlier this year to block Trump's emergency declaration along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump, however, vetoed the measure, and Congress didn't have the votes to override him. 
Republican senators are mulling a resolution of disapproval if Trump uses a national emergency to implement the tariffs against Mexico. Several sidestepped saying on Tuesday if they thought Congress could override the president on tariffs. 
Tuesday's meeting comes as Republicans have been broadly opposed to using tariffs to try to force Mexico to the negotiating table on immigration, an unrelated issue. 
Trump administration officials received an earful from senators during the closed-door GOP lunch, according to senators who attended the lunch. 
A GOP senator who attended the meeting said that roughly a half-dozen senators spoke during the closed-door lunch, none of whom were supportive of new tariffs against Mexico. 
The senator added that administration officials were warned during the lunch that they needed to count the votes on a potential resolution of disapproval because Trump could fall short. 
"I think it's fair to say … that every senator who spoke, and there were probably a half-dozen, generally had the same point of view," the senator said. "Nobody was supportive, who spoke."