Republicans sat patiently with President Donald Trump during his tariff roll with China. Now they are starting to feel uncomfortable.
Trump claims that his escalating trade war will force China to take the table for a deal. But my ever-rising tariffs – and its tweets on the market – are increasingly troubling the GOP.
The story goes below.
"There is no doubt that commercial uncertainty contributes to the delay," said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), A leading freelancer. "We are in a very good place. The danger is: Where will we be a year from now if trade concerns continue to be annoying for growth? "
Especially as the global economy cools, key Republicans say new fees on almost all Chinese goods threaten to step on the president's good news: Growing economy, rising wages and low unemployment. And that could have huge effects on the Republicans' heavy duty to protect the Senate and the White House in 2020.
"The biggest risk to the economy is the whole commercial situation," added Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) In interview. "I think the president did a great job, we stopped doing the regulatory burdens, we have a fairer tax system … and the whole trade war has put a tremendous amount of uncertainty and instability."
Most Republicans have resisted Trump's protectionist tendencies for ideological reasons, as well as striking at the economy and their own political fortunes. But they made an exception for China given its economic rivalry with the US. Now its tariff regime on imports from China, Europe and North America has slowed economic growth and increased household spending, according to the Bureau of Congress.
Against the backdrop of some Trump talk of new tax cuts pointing to the economy, his own political party is ready with the idea. Instead, the GOP senators urge the president to enter into new trade deals with Japan and the United Kingdom and step up efforts to push the US-Mexico-Canada agreement through Congress.
Republicans such as Toomey also advise the White House to take modest renewals of expiring tax regulations to counteract delays in business investment.
And, however delicate they are, to call on Trump to show more flexibility for China.
"The administration must be prepared to cut tariffs in order to reach a good agreement," said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a former U.S. sales representative. "And there is some disagreement on the issue in the administration. Some say they should come down, others say we should guard them. I don't think you will reach a good agreement if you do. "
To a large extent, Trump has staked his re-election on his economic prowess, so any delay can narrow his path to the White House and undermine the GOP's efforts to hold the Senate majority.
"Slowing down the economy can be a political threat. If you delay up to 1 percent going into the 2020 election, it's the same as a political recession, "said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Center for Action at the Center Right and a former CBO director." 8 percent? You're in Obama's territory. You can't survive on that. "
For Republicans who are ready for re-election," at what point is it better to break away from the president than make his cocktails ? ", Added Holtz Ekin.
White House spokesman Judd Deer said the president was simply trying to "level the playing field for American workers" and reduce fears of decline, citing current expansion.
"It is clear that the president's policies on fair and reciprocal trade, together with lower taxes and deregulation, are working," Deer said.
Any economic drive fueled by Trump will quickly fall to the high-risk PP senators who hold the keys to the Senate majority. Susan Collins' Mace saw lobster sales in China plummet; Johnny Ernst's Iowa farmers have had a rough year.
"Everyone recognizes that the economy is good, but they are still anxious about their own circumstances," says a Republican Senate race official. "I'm nervous that people will lose their patience and want to see results."
The GOP is ready to give the markets some semblance of security, and Republicans are openly considering ways to stabilize the economy. Some insist on the White House indexing capital gains to inflation; others advise one particular focus on the passage of the USMCA.
Cabinet Chairman Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has so far opposed the vote on the new North American trade deal, despite support for a pact among some Democrats in the swing area. It may not be a word at all while Trump is president in light of Pelosi's demands to boost labor and environmental standards in the agreement.
"It would be great for the USMCA to end this year. But it will not surprise me at all if this happens in the next administration, "said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va).
Pelosi had previously delayed trade deals with President George W. Bush, but Republicans argued a repeat of these tactics would have been more
"It's a bankruptcy for them to continue blocking it," Portman said. "The USMCA is practical. At some point, you have to allow people to vote." . "
Congress has taken some steps to retain the icon the sovereign debt raises the debt ceiling and adopts a two-year budget deal that is likely to help avoid government shutdowns in late September. Some Senate Republicans are also ready to pass a long-term transportation bill and members of both parties want to vote on legislation aimed at
No firm decisions have been made on the GOP leaders' fall program. Collins said she has personally asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) To make the bilateral health care package a priority and to focus Senate attention on the legislation, not the candidates.
Others dive into the geopolitics of Trump's conflict with China. Portman urged White House officials to develop an international isolation coalition for China while Senator Steve Dines (R-Mont.) Travels to China next week to discuss trade with the country's leaders.
Trump switched between calling Chinese President Xi Jinping an "enemy" to show "great respect" for him. He orders US companies to move out of China before he retires and says a few days later that he is likely to have a "deal" with Beijing.
And some Republicans argue that fighting China is worth the short-term pain.  "Do I like tariffs as a matter of policy on any given day? No. What other alternatives do you have to restore to the balance of what has already been 30 years of infidelity, lies, theft and injustice on behalf of the Chinese? "Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) Said.
For months, Republicans have agreed that Trump is right to take over China, even when they have opposed his ally tariffs. But their patience is not endless.  Some blame White House Commerce Advisor Peter Navarro for pushing for a firm approach to China and saying the economy will remain strong.
"I don't think Peter Navarro understands the instability of what he is promoting. [And what] trade war is being injected into the economy, "Johnson said.
The concern among free traders is that China's one-party system can wait for Trump and avoid political consequences. It's something the White House and Republicans just can't do with a 14-month election.
"I acknowledge the President for opposing China for the very bad behavior they have gotten themselves into. I'm not sure these are the best tactics, "Tommy said. "The Chinese have the capacity to endure for a very long time."
Heather Kagel contributed to this report.