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Ohio's Senators Say Trump's Tariffs are Too Broad

Photo of Senators Rob Portman (left) and Sherrod Brown (right).
Karen Kasler
Ohio Senator Rob Portman (left) and Senator Sherrod Brown (right)

Both Ohio senators say President Trump's plan to impose a 25 percent tariff on all steel imports is broader than they would prefer.

Sen. Rob Portman is urging the president to narrow the scope of his proposal. He says while an across-the-board tariff would be good for producers of raw steel,  “It could have a negative impact on our economy on Ohio workers because we have a lot of steel processors, a lot of companies that do things with steel.”

Many economists say a broad tariff would have severe consequences for many U.S. companies, like automakers. Sen. Sherrod Brown, has a different take:

“Frankly, I just don't buy into that.”

Like Portman, Brown says he’d also prefer a more "targeted" tariff that focuses on Chinese steel-dumping, but he says the president's plan would do more to help the auto industry than hurt it.

“If we don't enforce now and draw a line now, we're going to see the Chinese in auto component manufacturing working its way up to bigger auto component manufacturing working its way up to auto assembly. “

The president hasn't yet said whether his plan would exempt countries like Canada, which is the primary source of U.S. imported steel.