Top trade Dems hit Trump on tariffs

Top trade Dems hit Trump on tariffs
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Three of the top House Democrats on trade issues slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers MORE on Wednesday over his plans to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum while calling for congressional hearings on the move.

“We believe that these tariffs could drive up steel and aluminum prices for U.S. consumers and manufacturers, creating far reaching U.S. supply chain ramifications and potentially driving companies to move manufacturing operations and jobs overseas,” Democratic Reps. Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindPermanence for CBMTRA is a small business win across America Dems struggle to unite behind drug price plan Bipartisan IRS reform bill heads to House floor MORE (Wis.), Rick LarsenRichard (Rick) Ray LarsenPelosi, Dems struggle to find unity in Mueller response Booker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements Senate panel to hold hearing on airline safety after Boeing crashes MORE (Wash.) and Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksTreasury expected to miss Dem deadline on Trump tax returns Congress should look into its own taxes and travel, not just Trump's Liberals infuriated by pro-incumbent House Dem policy MORE (N.Y.) wrote in a letter to relevant congressional committees.

“There are certainly serious concerns with Chinese overcapacity in steel and aluminum production that America and its allies need to address, but the administration is taking the wrong approach with these broadly applicable tariffs that are already causing chaos and confusion for our nation’s economy, national security, and trade relations with our allies," they added.

The letter — addressed to the GOP chairmen of the House Ways and Means, Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees — was sent on behalf of the New Democrat Coalition Trade Task Force, part of a group of 60 moderate Democrats.

Labor leaders, an important Democratic constituency, were quick to praise Trump's tariffs first announced last week, and some congressional Democrats have also indicated their support. Still, some Democrats, such as Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMJ Hegar announces Texas Senate bid Hillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars Dem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage MORE (N.Y.), have said that a more targeted approach is needed.

Republicans have largely raised alarm over the tariffs, saying they would set back the U.S. economy in an election year. Trump has said he'll push to put forward a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum, though the White House has not yet released his formal proposal.

The Democratic letter released Wednesday did not go so far as to call for Congress to take oversight power on tariffs, such as carving out a congressional veto on certain kinds of tariffs. Some Democrats say that would be the right way to go.

"I think it's an appropriate role for Congress," said Rep. Brian HigginsBrian HigginsDemocratic proposals to overhaul health care: A 2020 primer Democratic senators unveil 'Medicare X' bill to expand coverage US labor unions say NAFTA replacement doesn't go far enough for workers MORE (D-N.Y.), member of the House Ways and Means Committee that oversees trade.

"I think that all of our constituents are affected differently by trade, so there should be a voice in that process to ensure that those people are represented," he added.

Rep. Kenny MarchantKenny Ewell MarchantDCCC opens Texas office to protect House pickups, target vulnerable GOP seats Treasury expands penalty relief to more taxpayers Dems press Mnuchin on Trump tax returns MORE (R-Texas), another Ways and Means member, said that the executive branch has the authority to impose tariffs and that Congress should not overstep.

"I would give him a chance to work on it a little while," he said of Trump's decision, though he added that his constituents were unhappy about the proposed tariffs.