The US Senate has passed a bill 88-11 asking for an increased role in President Donald Trump's 232 national security tariffs, but the bill is being viewed as largely a symbolic measure.
The bill is non-binding and would have to first be passed by the US House of Representatives before going on to President Trump for signing into law. Since President Trump would likely veto such a measure, it would have to return to Congress to muster a 2/3 vote of both houses to override the veto, Kallanish notes.
The United Steelworkers labour union pooh-poohed the effort, led by free-trade Senate Republicans critical of President Trump's protectionist measures.
"It is without question that Congress has oversight authority. But, it's a bit ironic that the Republican-led Congress wants to exercise that authority now after it essentially sat on its hands for years during which unfair trade and surging imports of steel and aluminium devastated the American industries and destroyed jobs," the USW says in a statement. "Now, action is underway to ensure that the United States sustains sufficient steel and aluminium production to protect national security. Billions of dollars in new investment and tens of thousands of jobs have already been put in motion since the section 232 investigations began. Congress must be careful not to jeopardise national security, scuttle that investment and throw thousands of workers into the unemployment lines."
The 232 has created strange bedfellows both in and out of Congress. Congressional Republicans - the party of President Trump - are highly critical of his protectionist policies, while usually staunchly Democratic institutions like the United Steelworkers have thrown their support behind domestic job initiatives like the 232.