Ryan decries Trump tariffs, but won’t pursue legislative action

Ryan decries Trump tariffs, but won’t pursue legislative action

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Feb 8, 2018, (Photo Doug Christian)
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), pictured in February, announced in April that he would not seek re-election this year. (Doug Christian/TMN file photo)

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) ruled out legislative action to derail the White House’s agenda on tariffs, hours after he warned in a speech that the trade barriers could lead to “a decline in American influence.”

“What’s more effective and constructive is to work with the administration to get the policy in a good place and that’s what we’re doing,” Ryan said during a press conference in the U.S. Capitol. “That’s going to be more effective than trying to pass a piece of legislation that will not make it into law.”

The administration has used Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 in conjunction with executive orders to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the EU, Canada, China and other countries. Many countries have responded by imposing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products, escalating concerns of a trade war.

Ryan acknowledged that those within his home state have been hurt, citing soybean farmers who have been particularly hit hard by China’s response.

During a speech to the Economic Club of Washington Thursday, Ryan said that he agreed with the administration’s arguments that the U.S. is often times at a disadvantage when it comes to trade, but argued that the slate of tariffs could have far-reaching effects.

“These agreements are just as important for our national security as they are for our economy,” Ryan said.

On Thursday, the Senate voted to approve a non-binding resolution pushing back against the President’s trade agenda, urging the administration to consult with Congress before using national security concerns to justify new tariffs.

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