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GOP senators back Donald Trump on tariffs despite pain


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President Donald Trump says the United States and China were close to a trade deal, before China tried to re-negotiate. This comes hours before a Chinese delegation is expected at the White House. (May 9)
APWASHINGTON – Republican senators acknowledged Tuesday the escalating trade war with China could hurt farmers and consumers in their states, but backed President Donald Trump’s strategy of increasing tariffs, saying the short-term “pain’’ may be necessary to even the playing field and force China back to the negotiating table.“China’s stealing market share and I don’t know how to get them to change without pain,’’ said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. “So whatever pain we experience now I think will be worth it in the long run. Our farmers on the front lines, some of these tariffs are really hurting us at home, but I support the idea of trying to get China to do better before its’s too late.”President Donald Trump says the United States and China were close to a trade deal, before China tried to re-negotiate. This comes hours before a Chinese delegation is expected at the White House. (May 9) (Photo: AP)Trade talks between the two countries broke off Friday without a deal after Trump raised tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25% from 10%, including office furniture, handbags and frozen catfish fillets, after trade talks between the two countries stalled.’A little squabble’: Trump says U.S., China have ‘extraordinary’ relationship despite trade fightTrump-Xi: Trump says he received ‘beautiful letter’ from China’s Xi amid tense trade talksChina retaliated Monday, saying it will add  tariffs on more than 5,000 U.S. products. Chinese officials said the tariffs would impact $60 billion in U.S. imports and would range from 5% to 25%. The tariffs will take effect June 1, which would give both sides time to resume talks.“One thing we all agree on is nobody wins a trade war and we’re all hoping … that these particular tactics get us into a better position,’’ said Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, adding that the U.S. and China have been in an “unfair trading relationship for a very long time.”Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said he has long pushed for the country to be tough on China, but said Trump has gotten into too many tariff fights with other countries, including Canada and Mexico. He said both parties should unite against China.“If we’re really tough and strong against China and the president takes my advice and gets all the other countries involved, we will come to a very good solution very quickly,” he said. “I hope he doesn’t back out and come up with a weak solution because China is going to continue to hurt us over and over again … We’ve got to do something about China or America will not be a strong economic power 10 or 15 years from now. I don’t fully agree with what the president has done because he’s fought this against too many different countries.”Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said Trump is trying to present a package to mitigate the impact of the trade war. Scott said he’s “cautiously optimistic” something good would come out of the fight.“It might not be by Friday, but in the end we need to have this trade struggle and probably should have it now,” Scott said. “We’re in the midst of a necessary tug of war. If we’re going to have a better trading environment for the next generation we have to get it now.”Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)Some Senate Republicans, who oppose tariffs, said they hoped talks resume soon.“We need to stand firm against China’s bad trade practices. They’ve stolen intellectual property from the United States, forced joint venture ownership,’’ said Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner. “But I don’t like tariffs. I think they’re a tax on the American consumers and it needs to end, now.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said many people can support the situation if it helps get China back to the negotiating table.“I think everybody can accept that. But if this goes on for a long time everybody realizes it’s playing with a live hand grenade,’’ said Cornyn, adding that China had reneged on the deal. “If this is what it takes to get a good deal I think people will hang in there, but at some point we’ve got to get it resolved.”Farmer, particularly those growing soybeans, are expected to especially be hard hit by the tariffs.Several Republicans said they hadn’t heard much from farmers or agriculture groups in their states. But others like Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., said they have been hearing from constituents for months.“In Wisconsin there are a lot of people feeling the short-term pain,’’ he said, adding that constituents say, “but we’re really supporting what the president is trying to do here.’’Johnson said called it unfortunate that China backed away from closing the deal with the United States.“My message to the Chinese is this president is not bluffing. He’s not going to back down so this trade impasse hurts them more than it hurts America,’’ he said. “Hopefully they’ll come to their senses and come back to the negotiating table in good faith.”Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., agreed.“The Chinese need to know that the president means it when he said he’s going to be a tough negotiator and when he says he doesn’t really mind tariffs,” he said. “I’m hopeful that the strategy will work and that we’ll get a deal. That’s what we need.”Contributing: Ledyard King, Michael CollinsLike what you’re reading?Dowload the USA TODAY app for moreAutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/05/14/china-trade-gop-senators-back-donald-trump-tariffs-despite-pain/3665904002/

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