President Donald Trump's decision to announce tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the United States last week drew immediate warnings of a trade war by Republican critics. Trump has argued the move is necessary to protect American industries that have been treated unfairly by foreign trade practices. Republican leaders including Gov. Scott Walker have asked Trump to reconsider, or at least modify the proposal to lessen its effects on states like Wisconsin.
Here is where Wisconsin's congressional delegation stands:
Sen. Ron Johnson (R): Johnson is wary of the move, and wrote a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross last week seeking more information and justification for the decision. The senator told WISN-TV's Mike Gousha this weekend that he expects Congress to hold hearings on the policy, which he said is a "risky" one.
In a CNN interview on Sunday, Johnson said talk of canceling NAFTA and imposing steel tariffs has "interjected uncertainty in the economy where it wasn't necessary.
"I’m really concerned that this is counterproductive," Johnson said.
Johnson said he would support a bill to block the tariffs, but said he didn't believe such an effort could pass the Senate.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D): Baldwin signaled some level of support for the policy, but expressed concerns that without an exemption for European countries, Wisconsin could be negatively affected.
"I believe the best way to support Wisconsin workers is to put in place strong Buy America standards, renegotiate a better deal on NAFTA, and take on China’s cheating," Baldwin said in a statement. "The President’s announcement last week sends a strong message to bad actors like China on steel and aluminum and as the nation’s leading paper producer, Wisconsin needs President Trump to do more to target China’s cheating — which has hurt our paper economy and led to layoffs. I also want an exemption for our European trading partners, so Wisconsin’s manufacturing and farming economy isn’t hurt going forward."
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-1st District): Ryan opposes the president's plan.
"I disagree with this action and fear its unintended consequences. I am pleased that the president has listened to those who share my concerns and included an exemption for some American allies, but it should go further," Ryan said in a statement. "We will continue to urge the administration to narrow this policy so that it is focused only on those countries and practices that violate trade law. There are unquestionably bad trade practices by nations like China, but the better approach is targeted enforcement against those practices. Our economy and our national security are strengthened by fostering free trade with our allies and promoting the rule of law."
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-2nd District): "I have always supported targeted tariffs — especially those as they relate to steel dumping from China and other unfair trade practices — as critical to spurring domestic production and creating middle class jobs," Pocan said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the President arrives at his views on trade very differently than I do. With his mixed messages on trade, it remains to be seen what he will do and whether these tariffs will actually support American workers."
Rep. Ron Kind (D-3rd District): Kind opposes the policy, and urged Trump to use a "scalpel, not a hammer" to pressure China.
"From the car in their garage to the beer in their fridge, Wisconsinites use aluminum and steel every day. The recent uncertainty about new tariffs will cost us jobs, increase the cost of Wisconsin products, and slow our economy," Kind said in a statement. "We should be setting high standards for how we trade with the rest of the world, and should never mirror China's bad behavior in negotiations. The consequence of retaliation would be widespread across the state, and could threaten jobs in industries and businesses Wisconsin is proud of, including Wisconsin dairy, cranberries, breweries and Harley Davidson."
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-4th District): Moore, on Twitter, said a decision like imposing tariffs "requires careful & strategic consideration, not an off the cuff roll-out more worthy of reality TV than the presidency."
"Family-supporting jobs at @MillerCoors & @harleydavidson shouldn't be pawns in Trump's twitter trade war," Moore tweeted.
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-5th District): "I recognize that we must address the unfair trade practices of foreign countries," Sensenbrenner said in a statement. "However, I have concerns that these broad tariffs will have unintended consequences on manufacturers, businesses, and consumers in southeastern Wisconsin. I urge the President to reconsider."
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-6th District): A spokesman for Grothman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Rep. Sean Duffy: (R-7th District): Duffy is supportive of the move to put pressure on countries that put the United States at a disadvantage, but showed some concerns about the impact of tariffs on Wisconsin.
"American workers produce the best products in the world and will compete with anyone in the world; and they deserve a level playing field. That’s why it’s encouraging to see President Trump put America first and fight for fairer trade," Duffy said in a statement. "Canada in particular has used free trade with the United States to injure Wisconsin dairy farmers at every turn, and I appreciate the President pushing back against their unfair practices. However, I urge the Trump Administration to consider the long-term ramifications of tariffs so that other sectors of our economy are not harmed."
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-8th District): Gallagher has "serious concerns" with the tariffs, which he said in a statement are "overly broad."
"As history has shown — as recently as 2002 — this type of indelicate protectionism rarely, if ever, works," Gallagher said, adding that reciprocal tariffs from the European Union would hurt Wisconsin businesses and consumers.
"Rather than punishing the Chinese like they were intended to do, I’m afraid these catch-all tariffs will hurt hardworking Wisconsin families and businesses. We need to adjust course instead of potentially decimating local industry in Northeast Wisconsin, like our beer producers and dairy farmers who could effectively be unable to sell their products abroad," Gallagher said.