Authors of the legislation, which also include Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, said Trump abused the authority granted under a 1962 law by imposing tariffs on aluminum and steel imports because there isn't a genuine national security threat.
Corker is offering his tariff proposal as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which the Senate is now debating and could approve later this week.
He argued that his fellow Republican senators overwhelmingly support the legislation, dubbed the "Corker Amendment", but they have decided not to bring it to the floor out of fear of angering the president.
" "Gosh, we might poke the bear" is the language I've been hearing in the hallways", Corker, who authored the amendment in question, said in a fiery floor speech. So gosh, we can't vote on the Corker amendment because we're taking, rightly so, the responsibilities that we have to deal with tariffs and revenues.
"We have been here a year and a half and because Senators, United Senators that are elected by people in their state don't want to cast a tough vote, they block everybody from voting", he said.
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Senator Corker said, "I haven't heard a single senator on our side that hasn't expressed concern to the president directly about what's happening with tariffs". "And so let's don't do anything that might upset the president".
The bipartisan legislation is sponsored by Corker and Sens.
The senator added that "if people don't like it they can vote up or down". I would bet higher than 95 percent.
Senator Bob Corker needed agreement of all senators to get a vote on whether to attach his plan to an annual defense bill. "I mean we're going to be here during recess, generally speaking, which is fine with me but, look, it's more about Trump being upset than it is about anything else", Corker said. He was asked by Senate leadership to fix the issue, which is what he sought to do on the Senate floor. "Absolutely because it's all about the next election, right?" said Corker, who is retiring after 2018. But even as he called for the Republicans to simply give his amendment an up-or-down vote, he acknowledged that there's no way it will actually happen.
Tuesday's outcome probably ensures that despite the GOP's longstanding support of free trade, and Republicans' discomfort with many of Trump's protectionist moves, the president will continue to have a free hand as he upends USA trade policy established over decades. But the senator leading the defense debate, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, said Tuesday he wouldn't go along because it risked holding up Pentagon funding and wasn't directly related.