U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-Charleston, is joining with other members of Congress to try to curtail President Donald Trump’s use of tariffs as a trade war tool.
Sanford signed on to a bill with five other representatives — three Republicans and two Democrats — that would allow Congress to review any tariffs imposed by the president for national security reasons.
The 60-day congressional review would apply to future tariffs but also any actions taken by the president in the last two years.
“Almost 580,000 jobs in South Carolina are tied to trade, and over 6,000 companies export goods globally from the state,” Sanford said in supporting the legislation. “This means that any federal policy affecting trade — like tariffs — will have a huge impact.”
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Sanford added, “Whether you want more tariffs or no tariffs, the Constitution is explicit in granting Congress the power to decide these matters. Yet, over the years, this power has eroded in congressional hands and strengthened in executive ones.”
Tariffs are a controversial tool in Trump’s tool chest as he attempts to address what he sees as trade imbalances with other countries. But South Carolina could be one of the states hardest hit by foreign retaliation.
The S.C. Chamber of Commerce asked members of the state’s congressional delegation to do “whatever it takes” to stop tariffs from being enacted.
But on Wednesday, U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, both S.C. Republicans, were two of just 11 senators to vote against a Senate resolution opposing Trump’s tariff policy. Both senators said they did not want to undermine Trump’s ability to negotiate better trade deals.
Sanford is on his way out of the U.S. House, having lost his 1st District GOP primary to state Rep. Katie Arrington, partly because of his disagreements with Trump. The president tweeted his endorsement of Arrington on primary day and has danced on Sanford’s political grave in his public comments since.