President Donald Trump has signed proclamations imposing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. "This is very hard, I think, to address by legislation, and it's obvious the president certainly has his mind made up", Roberts said.
"What we can't do in the body politic is whitewash the past or be purely tribal in our thinking, wherein, let's reverse the shoes, if it was a Democratic president and hush money had been paid in the campaign, would there be a series of hearings going on?"
"These so-called "flexible tariffs" are a marriage of two lethal poisons to economic growth - protectionism and uncertainty". A White House official said Trump was referencing an ongoing investigation of China in which the US trade representative is studying whether Chinese intellectual property rules are "unreasonable or discriminatory" to American business.
"Congress can not be complicit as the administration courts economic disaster", the Arizona senator said. "I will immediately draft and introduce legislation to nullify these tariffs, and I urge my colleagues to pass it before this exercise in protectionism inflicts any more damage on the economy".
Trump says a 25 percent tariff will be added to steel and a 10 percent tariff will apply to aluminum. Canada and Mexico are exempt, and the White House has invited other nations to bargain for their own carveouts.
The European Union said it was prepared to respond to any tariffs with counter-measures against US products such as Harley Davidson motorcycles, Levi's jeans and bourbon.
But Republicans also are looking to possible lawsuits by companies hurt by the tariffs as a way to roll them back. "I thank him for that and he's been a good listener". Lamar Alexander (R-TN) lamented Thursday. "It's something I'm very upset about". "The difficulty is so far I haven't persuaded him", Alexander said.More news: Toys 'R' Us considering liquidating
Several Republicans, including Flake, have openly called the President's views on trade misinformed and misguided.
"I don't know that there is a legislative fix that will garner the support in both chambers that will be able to override a veto because that's what would have to happen", said Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., "So I'm sure there's going to be bills and co-sponsors, but it would be disingenuous to suggest there will be enough votes to override a veto".
Trump has defended his decision on Twitter, saying that trade wars are "good and easy to win".
Flake has been a vocal critic of the president.
Prospects in the House for a bill to counter Trump are dim as well.
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.