McConnell: 'Unlikely' Congress will try to block Trump tariffs

McConnell: 'Unlikely' Congress will try to block Trump tariffs
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFord's lawyer: Hearing doesn't appear to be designed for 'fair', 'respectful' treatment GOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Press: Judge Kavanaugh must withdraw MORE (R-Ky.) indicated Tuesday that the Senate won't try to use legislation to halt President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE's steel and aluminum tariffs, noting it’s improbable the president would sign such a bill. 

"I like to use floor time in the Senate for things that actually have a chance to become law. ... I think it's highly unlikely we would be dealing with that in a legislative way," McConnell said. 

Trump announced late last week that he would slap steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum despite days of public pleas and frantic behind-the-scenes work from congressional Republicans for him to back down. 

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GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Police arrest 128 protesting Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill GOP launches counteroffensive on Kavanaugh MORE (Ariz.) introduced legislation on Monday to nullify the tariffs. But any bill would face an uphill battle given that it would either need Trump's signature or enough support to override a veto. 

McConnell added on Tuesday that the chances Trump would support such a bill are "remote at best."

"Well on the trade issue ... the administration pretty much has ball control. The thought that the president would sign a bill that would undo actions he's taken strikes me as remote," he said.

Republicans are widely opposed to the tariffs. But McConnell, his leadership team and House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDems fight to protect Mueller amid Rosenstein rumors Jordan wants Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee Kamala Harris calls for Senate to protect Mueller probe as Rosenstein faces potential dismissal MORE (R-Wis.) have signaled they will try to get the administration to narrow the financial penalties instead of halting them.

McConnell added that there is "a lot of concern" within the caucus, and members are continuing to talk to the administration.