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 McConnellSenate nearing deal on defense bill after setback On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Schumer eyeing Build Back Better vote as soon as week of Dec. 13 MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he will not bring up a free-standing bill to push back on President TrumpDonald TrumpOmar, Muslim Democrats decry Islamophobia amid death threats On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Trump cheers CNN's Cuomo suspension 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 CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (R-Tenn.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote 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.