The possibility of an escalating trade war with China is sparking concerns among Republican lawmakers about the economy and the approaching midterm elections, The Hill is reporting.
As GOP lawmakers return to Washington from their spring break, some are questioning just how much authority they have over the issue.
"I don't know there's much you can do there," said one senior Senate GOP aide.
The Hill noted Republicans have been seeking to make the economy the central issue in the November midterms. However, now they are concerned the gains from lower taxes could be offset by higher consumer prices from tariffs.
The U.S. has published a list of $50 billion in Chinese goods to be hit by tariffs. And Trump has warned of additional tariffs on $100 billion worth of Chinese imports.
The Hill noted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Trump's threats were making him "nervous."
And Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., appeared much more direct.
"If he's even half-serious, this is nuts," Sasse said of the president's actions. "This is the dumbest possible way to do this."
But Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, added: "It is China's responsibility to end its technology transfer regime. . . Until it does so, there will be a risk of a continuing cycle of retaliatory tariffs."
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