TN lawmakers respond to Pres. Trump's tariff proclamation - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

TN lawmakers respond to Pres. Trump's tariff proclamation

The Electrolux company offices in Stockholm. (AP photo) The Electrolux company offices in Stockholm. (AP photo)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV-AP) -

Tennessee lawmakers are speaking out against the proclamation Pres. Donal Trump signed Thursday afternoon imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum exports, vowing to fight back against an "assault on our country" by foreign competitors.

The measure would impose a 25-percent tax on steel and a 10-percent tax on aluminum imports to the United States. 

Pres. Trump said the excess of imported steel and aluminum is a “travesty” that hurts American workers and industries “ravaged by aggressive foreign trade practices.”

However, many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have since voiced major disapproval of the president's decision. 

"This is especially bad news for Tennesseans," Sen. Lamar Alexander said Monday on the Senate floor. "It will now be cheaper for some Tennessee auto parts suppliers to move outside the United States, buy steel and aluminum there, and then ship finished parts back to our country.”

In another statement released today, Alexander said the threat of the steel tariffs caused Electrolux, the largest home-appliance manufacture in Europe, to halt a $250 million expansion in Springfield, Tenn. 

Other Tennessee-based companies, like Brown-Forman's Jack Daniels, have criticized the president's decision. 

Other current and former state leaders, including Sen. Bob Corker and former Gov. Phil Bredesen, have also weighed in on the issue. 

However, Tennessee lawmakers aren't the only ones against the tariffs. A Republican senator from Arizona promised Thursday to introduce legislation that would nullify Pres. Trump's proclamation. 

“Congress cannot be complicit as the administration courts economic disaster," said Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, urging other lawmakers to pass the bill before it creates "more damage on the economy."

An independent study released by The Trade Partnership estimates the tariffs will likely eliminate more than jobs than it will create. 

"The tariffs would increase U.S. iron and steel employment and non-ferrous metals (primarily aluminum) employment by 33,464 jobs, but cost 179,334 jobs throughout the rest of the economy," the study explains.

That means more than five jobs will be lost for every one created, resulting in a net loss of nearly 146,000 jobs. 

Here's what current and former Tennessee leaders are saying. 

Sen. Lamar Alexander (full statement):

“This is disappointing news for Tennessee workers. President Bush’s similar steel tariffs in 2002 backfired and proved that such tariffs destroy many more U.S. manufacturing jobs than they save. Last week, just the threat of steel tariffs caused Electrolux, Europe’s largest home appliance manufacturer, to put on hold a $250 million expansion in Springfield, Tennessee, even though 100% of the steel Electrolux uses is produced in the United States. According to Electrolux, tariffs on imported steel raise prices on all steel sold in the United States and make it more difficult for U.S.-based manufacturing plants to compete with foreign manufacturers.” 
 
Alexander spoke on the Senate floor Monday about the effect these tariffs would have on Tennessee, saying: “This is especially bad news for Tennesseans because one-third of our state’s manufacturing jobs are auto jobs with more than 900 plants in 87 of our 95 counties. It will now be cheaper for some Tennessee auto parts suppliers to move outside the United States, buy steel and aluminum there and then ship finished parts back to our country.”

Sen. Bob Corker:

“While I share the president’s concerns regarding Chinese steel overcapacity, I am disappointed by the administration’s approach to this problem and ultimate decision to use a rarely used national security provision to implement new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports,” said Corker. “A better way to level the playing field for American companies would be to rally our friends and allies to advance a robust, targeted effort to ensure that only those responsible for excess global capacity pay a price. Unfortunately, I fear this announcement could have far-reaching unintended consequences that will put at risk the hard-fought economic gains U.S. businesses have seen over the past year. Hopefully, the president will come to realize this possibility and further narrow this announced policy.”

Former Gov. Phil Bredesen:

"The tariffs on steel and aluminum that were signed today are a real problem for workers in Tennessee and their families. Broad tariffs are by their nature like taking a big ax to a problem that needs a scalpel -- the blow may be aimed at a real problem but usually creates lots of other damage in the process.

Here in Tennessee, both LG in Clarksville and Electrolux in Springfield have put new investment and hiring on hold in anticipation of these tariffs. Jack Daniels in Lynchburg is concerned about being damaged by the tariffs that the EU is considering in retaliation to ours. Washington needs a timeout. I would urge President Trump to bring together a bipartisan group to discuss this issue. I would also urge the President to make this group light on Washington political insiders and heavy on leaders in communities out across America who actually know how this works in the real world and have some skin in this game."

We will add more lawmaker responses as soon as they are released. Stay with News4 for updates. 

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