Will Only Vote to Curtail Trump’s Tariff Power If It’s Non-Binding

Just before a largely symbolic Senate vote aiming to curtail President Donald Trump’s trade powers on Wednesday, North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis told THE WEEKLY STANDARD he would support the measure—but only because it is non-binding.

“I agree with the policy,” Tillis said of a bill introduced by Bob Corker that would give Congress a say in Trump’s national security tariffs. The Senate will take what Corker calls a “test vote” on the bill on Wednesday afternoon; the resolution does not carry the force of law.

“It’s a non-binding measure, but I think we need to send a signal that on issues related to trade, we’ve got to get to a normalized environment where we’re working very closely with our allies, because if we are going to have a war with China on trade, we want to have a lot of allies with us,” Tillis added.

But when asked whether he would vote for the bill if it were introduced as a regular piece of legislation, Tillis said he would not.

“What we want to do is kind of set congressional intent,” he explained. “The president is in the middle of trying to negotiate and bring to a close some of these things, and I don’t want to take tools off the table until we’ve seen how this is prosecuted over the next couple of months.”

Tillis’s reasons for opposing the bill have been echoed by other Republicans who are reluctant to check Trump’s trade powers by passing legislation.

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday expressed similar reservations, saying that he did not want to “hamstring” Trump’s negotiating tactics.

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