Senate Republicans say a possible resolution to block President TrumpDonald John TrumpHead of anti-abortion group promises to spend M during 2020 election cycle Clyburn walks back comments about impeachment Transportation Department seeks to crack down on pipeline protests: report MORE’s threat to impose new tariffs on Mexico will begin in the House and may not even make it to the Senate floor.
The senators offered a downbeat view on the resolution’s future, despite angst among Republicans over Trump’s tariffs.
“I was in a meeting yesterday where there were two different opinions about whether a resolution of disapproval would be applicable in this instance,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP divided over how to stop Trump’s trade wars Former US ambassador slams Trump’s new tariffs on Mexico How Congress can take back control over tariffs MORE (R-Iowa) said Tuesday.
“Right now I don’t think it’s even worth talking about because the Mexicans are coming up here tomorrow to talk to the administration and I hope that something can be worked out,” he added.
Members of the Mexican delegation have voiced optimism that their talks could lead to a deal that would prevent the tariffs from being imposed as scheduled on Monday.
But Trump, speaking at a press conference in London, vowed on Thursday that the tariffs would go into place unless Mexico cracks down on the flow of migrants from Central America across the Southern border.
He also said it would be “foolish” for Republicans to try to stop him.
“We are going to see if we can do something, but think it’s more likely that the tariffs go on,” Trump said during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa MayTheresa Mary MayPomp, protests mark Trump UK state visit Trump, Queen Elizabeth toast to historic US-UK relationship at state banquet London mayor fires back at ‘far-right’ Trump for calling him a ‘stone cold loser’ MORE.
The president has threatened to steadily raise the tariff to 25 percent by October unless the Mexican government takes action.
Two other Senate Republicans briefed on the option of using a disapproval resolution to block new tariffs against Mexico said it would begin in the House but cautioned there’s no guarantee that it would reach a vote on the Senate floor.
One lawmaker said “it would be up to the parliamentarian” to decide whether Trump’s latest tariff threats against Mexico are covered by the national emergency declaration he made for the Southern border in mid-February.
The lawmaker said the push for a disapproval resolution has more support from House Democrats than Senate Republicans.
Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTo-do list piles up for Congress Frustration boils over with Senate’s ‘legislative graveyard’ Hillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment MORE (R-S.D.) said he hopes the new talks between Mexican and the U.S. could lead to a deal that would prevent the tariffs from going forwared.
“A lot of our members are hoping that these meetings tomorrow will lead to an outcome that doesn’t require them to execute on the tariffs. I’m hoping that they’ll have a constructive meeting,” he said,. “Mexico has been, in my view, pretty measured and reserved so far in the things that they’ve said.”
Trump says he would impose the tariffs on Mexico under the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Critics of the move question whether the action would need to be justified by a new national emergency declaration or whether the declaration from February is enough.
In February, Trump declared an emergency at the border in order to move funds from Defense Department accounts for his proposed wall on the Mexican border.
The House and Senate voted to overturn that declaration. Twelve Senate Republicans were among those voting with Democrats.
Trump, however, vetoed the resolution and an effort to override it fell well short of the two-thirds majority needed in the House.
Under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), Congress can block the president’s emergency powers by terminating the national emergency declaration with a joint resolution passed by both chambers.
Thune on Tuesday said it’s unclear if Trump’s emergency declaration from February is enough to justify additional tariffs.
“We don’t really know. We’ve got conflicting views about whether the previous [emergency declaration] covers this or whether this requires some sort of a new declaration and therefore subject to another vote,” he said. “We just don’t know the answers yet.”
Thune, however, warned that a second disapproval vote could get more than the 12 Senate Republicans that supported the last one in March.
“I suspect if that vote were to ever occur, I think you’d have a lot more of our members that would be opposed to [the emergency declaration] than last time,” he said. “Hopefully it won’t get to that.”
A second Republican senator briefed on the disapproval resolution who requested anonymity said it remains to be seen whether Trump will submit a second national emergency declaration to Congress.
The lawmaker said a second declaration may be necessary because the president did not signal his intent to levy tariffs on Mexican goods when he made his original declaration in February.
Under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, the Democratic-controlled House can advance a resolution disapproving of Trump’s emergency declaration every six months. That means even if a second emergency declaration is not needed to impose new tariffs on Mexico, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiClyburn walks back comments about impeachment Buttigieg: I would have to ‘think twice’ about giving ‘strategic advice to Nancy Pelosi’ Hillicon Valley: House Judiciary opens antitrust probe of tech giants | Senate to receive election security briefing | Quest Diagnostics breach exposes data on 11.9 million patients | House sets hearing on ‘deepfakes’ MORE (D-Calif.) could force another vote on the issue in the fall.