Republican Senator Chuck Grassley (Iowa) on Tuesday accused Congress of improperly giving up its power to the White House and said he is pushing forward with legislation that would put a check on President Donald Trump’s trade powers.
The Iowa senator and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said tariff actions should be decided by elected lawmakers in Congress, not by the president’s fiat.
“It adds up to something pretty simple: Congress has delegated too much authority to the president of the United States,” he said during a call with reporters first reported by Politico.
“There’s absolutely no constitutional crisis that this president or any other president has created,” Grassley reportedly continued. “The constitutional crisis comes from the elected representatives of the people over the last 80 years making a dictator out of the presidency.”
The senator went on to state that “a lot” of progress had been made on a bill he is working on to strip the executive branch of some tariff authority.
“You can imagine how the president feels about tariffs,” he said. “He may not look favorably on this, so I want a very strong vote in my committee and then, in turn, a very strong vote on the floor of the Senate.”
“This is not about Trump. It’s about the balancing of power,” Grassley added.
Grassley criticized Trump last week over his surprise announcement that the U.S. would impose tariffs on Mexico in order to force the Mexican government to act on illegal border crossings, calling it a “misuse” of Trump’s authority.
“Trade policy and border security are separate issues. This is a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent,” Grassley said in a statement last month.