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Koch network launches campaign against Trump tariffs

A new initiative, led by Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity and The LIBRE Initiative, will spend millions opposing President Donald Trump's tariffs in support of free trade policies. (AFP/Getty Images)

When President Donald Trump declared that he was imposing a 25 percent tariff on all imports of steel to the United States and a 10 percent tariff on all aluminum imports, not everyone in his own party was happy.

More than 100 members of Congress signed a letter criticizing his decision and asking him to reconsider. Some conservative U.S. senators including Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) also raised objections, arguing that tariffs are contradictory to conservative free trade principles.

Now a group of organizations that receive funding from libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch has launched a campaign to promote free trade and oppose tariffs.

Here's what you need to know

The new initiative, which was announced on Monday, is a combined effort by Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity and The LIBRE Initiative. According to the official news release, this combined effort will be “a multi-year, multimillion-dollar initiative to champion the far-reaching benefits of trade and oppose tariffs and other barriers.”

The news release explained what this would look like:

“The campaign will include paid media, activist education and grassroots mobilization, lobbying and policy analysis – all intended to transform the way Washington and the rest of the country consider and value trade with other nations.”

What else?

As part of the announcement about this initiative, Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips issued a statement:

“The Trump administration has taken some incredibly positive steps for the American economy, but tariffs will undercut that progress and needlessly hamstring our full economic potential. There are better ways to negotiate trade deals than by punishing American consumers and businesses with higher costs. Instead of pursuing protectionist policies that we already know don’t work, let’s help everyone win by expanding trade, opening new markets and lowering costs.

“This president has demonstrated strong leadership in his effort to provide the American people with the most substantial tax relief this nation has seen in decades. These tariffs amount to self-imposed barriers to the success of tax reform and we urge the administration to reconsider.”


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