McConnell open to amendment pushing back on Trump tariffs

McConnell open to amendment pushing back on Trump tariffs
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump hints at new executive action on immigration, wants filibuster-proof Senate majority The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — The Hill interviews President Trump MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he will not bring up a free-standing bill to push back on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE’s trade agenda, but that GOP senators might be able to add it as an amendment to other legislation.

Support among Republicans has grown for legislation backed by Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerPoll: More voters oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination than support it Ford opens door to testifying next week Police arrest nearly two dozen Kavanaugh protesters MORE (R-Tenn.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight 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 WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (R-Pa.) that would give Congress power to authorize or reject any new tariffs imposed because of national security concerns.

GOP senators say McConnell doesn’t want to risk a confrontation with the president but also wants to be responsive to the concerns of colleagues who think Trump’s trade agenda has run amok.

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“What I’m in favor of is getting bills passed that we have to do for the country. NDAA is certainly one of them but it is open to amendment and we’ll see what happens as it moves across the floor,” he said, referring to the National Defense Authorization Act, which Congress passes every year and is considered a must-pass bill.

He noted that the Senate also has to pass the farm bill — a package of agriculture subsidies — as well as appropriations bills.

McConnell ruled out the possibility of bringing up the Corker-Toomey proposal as a stand-alone measure.

“Items as contentious as that’s likely to be, we’ll see. But I’m not going to call it up free-standing,” he said.

He acknowledged, however, that Corker and Toomey could attach their proposal to the defense bill.

“NDAA is going to be open, we’ll see what amendments are offered,” he said, indicating that he will allow amendments to the defense measure.