Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., assailed the Trump administration's threats of tariffs in its trade tiff with China — saying farmers and ranchers should not be collateral damage.
In remarks to The Kansas City Star, the chairman of the Senate agriculture committee fumed it was "very unfortunate" President Donald Trump "has an intrinsic belief in protectionism" and "protectionists" are also advising him in the escalating trade tensions.
"These are real people, real families," Roberts said of farmers and ranchers affected by tit-for-tat tariffs being levied by the United States and China.
"You don't use them as a playing card. I think that's the most upsetting thing that has happened."
The White House on Tuesday detailed a $50 billion tariff package on China, with 25 percent tariffs being leveled on imports of Chinese electronics, shoes, furniture, and other goods.
China retaliated Wednesday, slapping 25 percent tariffs on imports of U.S. soybeans, corn, airplanes and automobiles in a package that totals about $50 billion worth of goods.
Roberts told the news outlet he would like the chance to question Peter Navarro, the president's trade adviser, and Wilbur Ross, the Commerce Secretary, at an agriculture committee hearing.
"We'll be considering any legislative action that we think is appropriate," Roberts said. "You don't want to set a precedent of Congress stepping into the middle of any trade negotiations. You hope for the best."
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