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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Trump forces GOP to rethink trade policy

Congressional Republicans who support free trade are beginning to grapple with the political reality that President Trump and many of their own constituents who put Trump in the White House don't agree.

Some GOP lawmakers have started to become more vocal in their defense of free trade. Others are looking for ways to satiate the demand for more protectionist policies without really breaking with the Republican free trade consensus that dates back to Ronald Reagan's presidency.

But presidents frequently redefine political parties, and Trump seems to be reshaping how to think about trade among Republicans. Trump is already moving to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which passed originally passed with the support of 66 percent of Republicans in the House and 80 percent of Republicans in the Senate.

And on Thursday, Trump's White House spokesman muddied the water for Republicans once again by suggesting the administration supports an arcane tax policy change to fund a proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.


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