Senate Republicans are considering taking legislative action against President Donald Trump’s planned new tariffs on Mexico, laying the foundation for potentially explosive infighting between the president and his party, reported The Washington Post, Politico and Bloomberg.
Trump has threatened to impose a 5% tariff on Mexican goods on June 10 if Mexico doesn’t do more to stop the massive flow of migrants crossing its northern border into the U.S.
The president would need to declare a national emergency at the border to impose the tariffs, but Congress has the authority to pass a resolution of disapproval that would overrule such a declaration.
Congress voted to block Trump’s first national emergency declaration to fund his border wall in March, but the president swiftly vetoed it.
Trump, during a joint press conference Tuesday with British Prime Minister Theresa May, said it would be “foolish” for Republicans to block the tariffs.
“I think it’s most likely that the tariffs go on,” Trump said during the London press conference, adding that he doesn’t believe GOP lawmakers will vote to override him. “I think if they do, it’s foolish.”
Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed significant concern over the economic burden such tariffs would place on Americans as well as the strain they would put on trade negotiations with Mexico and Canada.
Mexico is the largest agricultural supplier to the U.S., so Americans should expect to see higher prices on produce, including asparagus, berries, avocados, tomatoes and lemons, economists have warned. Beer, tequila, electronics and vehicles could also cost more, reported CBS News.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters Monday that the proposed tariffs “calls into question our ability to pass” within Congress the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade pact pushed by the White House.
He said he doesn’t “even want to think about” the economic ramifications if Trump eventually increases the tariffs to 25% as he has threatened.
“We need to put our heads together and try to come up with a solution,” Cornyn said.
Mexican officials held a news conference Monday at the embassy in Washington warning that the tariffs could be economically disastrous for both countries and would likely result in an increase ― not a decrease ― in migrants seeking to cross into the U.S.
Mexico called for both countries to reach a diplomatic solution but has flatly rejected the Trump administration’s request for Mexico to enter a safe third country agreement, which would require asylum-seekers to apply for refuge in Mexico first.
“There is a clear limit to what we can negotiate,” said Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S., Martha Barcena. “And the limit is Mexican dignity.”
This story has been updated to include Trump’s comments Tuesday.