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House Speaker Paul Ryan urges more "surgical approach" to Trump tariffs

Paul Ryan differs from Trump on tariffs
Paul Ryan differs from Trump on tariffs 02:14

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he is urging the Trump administration to take a more "surgical" approach to the steel and aluminum tariffs the president announced last week. Ryan addressed Republicans' concerns over the upcoming ariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which many in the party argue could have negative impacts on the U.S. economy.

"There is clearly abuse occurring, clearly there is overcapacity dumping in transshipping of steel and aluminum by some countries, particularly China, but I think the smarter way to go is to make it more surgical and more targeted." 

He added that Mr. Trump's plan was "more prone to retaliation" but is encouraged that the administration plans to "focus on what is clearly a legitimate problem and be more surgical in its approach so we can go after the true abuses without creating any unintended consequences or collateral damage."

Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement on Monday that the speaker is "urging the White House to not advance with this plan. The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don't want to jeopardize those gains."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders weighed in Monday.

"We have a great relationship with Speaker Ryan," she told CBS News. "We're going to continue to have one but that doesn't mean we have to continue to agree on everything. The president has been committed and talked about this for many years."

Ryan told reporters on Tuesday that Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, is taking the lead on talks to urge the administration in a different direction on the tariffs. Ryan said the caucus is "encouraged we can get to a good place."

"We've had multiple conversations about this, [the president] knows our view. Every now and then we're just going to have a different approach as to how we tackle these problems, but it should be acknowledged there is a problem that needs to be addressed here," Ryan said. "We just want to make sure that it's done in a prudent way."

Despite warnings from his own party, the president insisted Monday that his tariffs would not start a trade war with other countries, although he had earlier said that "trade wars are good, and easy to win."

"I don't think you're going to have a trade war," the president told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, adding, "We are not backing down on the tariffs." 

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