Justin Amash

Rep. Justin Amash Slams Republican Leadership for Meaningless Response to Trump Tariffs

Amash wondered why Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan even want to be leaders in Congress "if all they intend to do is outsource their jobs to the president."


Jeff Malet Photography/Newscom

Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) blasted congressional leadership Wednesday for failing to take meaningful action in response to President Donald Trump's tariff madness.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a measure earlier in the day limiting the president's power to impose tariffs for national security reasons. But the nonbinding measure won't actually do anything, and was seen as more of a symbolic gesture than anything else.

That's not good enough for Amash, who voiced his displeasure in a pair of tweets. The libertarian-leaning Republican blasted the Senate's action as "weak," calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R–Wisc.) to "defend Congress's powers with real legislation, not symbolic gestures." In a follow-up post, he wondered why McConnell and Ryan even "want to be congressional leaders if all they intend to do is outsource their jobs to the president."

The Senate's vote came the same day the Trump administration said it was imposing 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China. The White House claimed this measure was a response to tariffs imposed by China on American goods, though China's tariffs were retaliation for an earlier round of Trump tariffs. Though Congress has yet to address this trade war with meaningful legislation, the Senate's vote could be sign of things to come. As Reason's Eric Boehm noted yesterday:

The nonbinding vote is, for now, mostly meaningless. Still, the bipartisan support for limiting the president's ability to abuse the Section 232 tariff authority is the first sign that Republicans in Congress might be willing to stand up to Trump as he continues escalating an unnecessary trade war.

Amash, meanwhile, has previously voiced his disdain for Trump's tariffs. In March, not long after Trump imposed sweeping tariffs on all steel and aluminum imports into the United States, Amash called such tariffs "corporate welfare."