"In addition to diminishing the economic benefits of the administration's successful tax and regulatory policies, these tariffs - and resulting trade retaliation from other countries - will continue to impose tremendous costs on US businesses and workers, erode USA global competitiveness and economic growth, and undermine key USA economic and security relationships".
Today Senator Flake got his vote, as the Senate passed a nonbinding resolution seeking to constrain the President's ability to impose tariffs for reasons related to national security.
The provision is toothless, but it represents the first concrete step by Republicans toward reining in a protectionist agenda that has upended decades of the party's dogma in support of free trade.
Republican Senator Bob Corker, who has already introduced legislation to curb the president's trade authority, said the motion was a "baby step". "They are damaging the worldwide relationships we have spent decades building, casting doubt on the United States and our role as a global leader and a reliable partner..."
Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., called on lawmakers to give the president "space" to negotiate better trade deals. Brown had previously blocked action on the Corker-Toomey bill giving Congress veto power on certain tariffs.
Brown said he was voting in favor of the non-binding measure because Congress "should have a role in all trade policy".
And some Democrats downplayed the significance of Wednesday's vote, including Sen. "I've been saying that for years and I'm glad my colleagues finally agree".
She grimly fielded a barrage of mostly hostile questions, arguing the national-security tariffs were not meant to target any one nation, but to bolster a steel and aluminum sector that's crucial to America's defence.
Wednesday's vote came on a procedural "motion to instruct" senators who will be working with House counterparts to finalize an unrelated spending bill. It is created to give Congress more say about trade penalties imposed by the president in the name of national security. Trump invoked Section 232 on May 31 when he imposed stiff tariffs on aluminum and steel coming from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.
Under the resolution, Congress would need to approve future tariffs issued under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
Instead, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, has said he'll begin what could be a months-long process to examine whether Congress should take back some of the power to impose tariffs it has delegated to the executive branch.
"I don't think this administration understands how fortunate we are to have the neighbours we have", he said.