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Most GOP lawmakers support Biden tariffs on imports from China

Nearly half of top congressional staffers say their boss supports the Biden administration slapping tariffs on electric vehicles, solar panels, medical supplies, semiconductor chips and other products made in China.

The findings are part of our most recent survey of top congressional staffers, The Canvass Capitol Hill. Notably, most Republicans (53%) who responded sided with Biden on the tariffs.

The White House in May announced it was taking steps to “counter China’s unfair trade practices” and protect U.S. workers and businesses. President Joe Biden directed the U.S. trade representative to levy tariffs on $18 billion of goods imported from China.

Biden’s decision to tax certain imports from China mirrors similar actions by former President Donald Trump when he was in office. It’s no surprise that Biden is taking similar steps in a contentious election year where the president is struggling to get his economic message to resonate with voters.

As we wrote Monday in The Vault, you’re about to hear a whole lot about tariffs as Election Day draws nearer. Trump already has Republicans on the defensive with his proposal to levy a 10% tax on imports across the board and to place other restrictions on imports from China. That puts Biden under pressure to show he can be just as tough on China as Trump.

Just 13% of respondents to the survey said their lawmaker opposes Biden’s tariffs on China. Unsurprisingly, 60% of Democrats said Biden’s policy on China will help his reelection bid. Two-thirds of Republicans didn’t think it would change anything for Biden. The survey was conducted June 3-21 in partnership with independent public affairs firm, LSG.

Want to take part in The Canvass? Our survey provides anonymous monthly insights from top Capitol Hill staffers and K Street leaders on key issues Washington is dealing with. Sign up here if you work on K Street. Click here to sign up if you’re a senior congressional staffer.

— Elvina Nawaguna

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.