Lighthizer set to testify before Senate Finance on trade next week

Lighthizer set to testify before Senate Finance on trade next week
© Greg Nash

U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerOn The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Chinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report The Trump economy keeps roaring ahead MORE will testify on Thursday at the Senate Finance Committee on the Trump administration’s trade agenda.

Lighthizer, the nation’s top trade official, is expected to face questions from the panel about President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE’s plan to levy hefty tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel, among other trade priorities.

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“I have made clear that tariffs are nothing but a tax on American businesses and consumers and I look forward to discussing with Amb. Lighthizer how the administration can mitigate the damage they cause,” said Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (R-Utah).

Last week, Trump announced steep tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum over national security issues. 

So far, Canada and Mexico, both partners with the United States in the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement are exempt from the policy that is expected to go into effect next week.

Earlier this month, Hatch wrote a letter to the president urging him not to implement tariffs on steel and aluminum imports because of their potential to undermine the success of tax reform.

Hatch said he expects the Finance panel to ask Lighthizer more about how the Trump administration would use an extension of trade promotion authority, which it has requested as part of its trade policy agenda.

Lighthizer is set to appear before the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, the day before Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossHuawei grappling with 'live or die moment,' founder says Ex-counterintelligence official warns Trump administration not to be shortsighted on Huawei The Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries MORE will talk to the House panel.

The hearings come at a time when lawmakers on Capitol Hill are questioning the administration's moves on trade amid a faster growing economy.