Trump rolling out big trade tariffs, sparing Canada, Mexico

House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks about the GOP

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake wasted no time responding to President Donald Trump's new tariffs on steel and aluminum on Thursday, rolling out a bill to reverse the decision.

"Trade wars are not won, they are only lost", Flake said in a statement shortly after the president signed the tariff proclamations.

The president was surrounded by steel and aluminum workers as he explained his decision at a White House ceremony. Trade is now the issue that has driven the most distance between Ryan and the president he reluctantly endorsed during the campaign.

Flake said the new tariffs, which function as taxes on imports, of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum would be detrimental to the United States economy and must be stopped.

More than 100 House Republicans wrote Trump on Wednesday, asking him to reconsider "the idea of broad tariffs to avoid unintended negative consequences" to the US economy and workers. The U.S. will levy a 25 percent duty on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, the same level Trump promised when he revealed the plan March 1.

The looming departure of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive who has opposed the promised tariffs, set off anxiety among business leaders and investors anxious about a potential trade war.

Trump set the tariffs based on a Commerce Department investigation that found imports of the metals pose a risk to national security. The tariffs will take effect in 15 days.

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"Our factories were left to rot, and to rust all over the place".

According to reports, Canada and Mexico are exempt from the tariffs amid larger trade negotiations.

Lawmakers opposed to the tariffs, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have suggested more narrowly focused approaches to target Chinese imports.

All 435 seats in the House will be on ballots.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have spoken out against the tariffs. Both said they are continuing to lobby the president to change course. "I look forward to working with the administration to make sure that our trade policy focuses on curbing abusive behavior and protecting our interests here at home without harming America's economic security", he said in a statement.

"This isn't just bad for farmers and ranchers in Nebraska who need to buy a new tractor, it's also bad for the moms and dads who will lose their manufacturing jobs because fewer people can buy a more expensive product", he said.

Baldwin, who like Walker is up for re-election in November, said the best way to support Wisconsin workers is to enact strong buy-American standards like the ones she's supported, as well as renegotiate a better deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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