US Senate, House Republican leaders signaled on Monday that they would not support President-elect Donald J. Trump’s threat to impose a heavy tax on companies that move jobs overseas, the first significant friction over the conservative economic orthodox style that Mr. Trump relishes.
“I don’t want to get into some kind of trade war,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, a Californian Republican and majority leader, told reporters in response to Mr. Trump’s threats over the weekend to seek a 35 percent import tariff on goods sold by United States companies that move our job opportunities overseas and displace American workers.
Speaker Paul D. Ryan also pushed back against Mr. Trump on Monday in an interview with a Wisconsin reporter, saying an overhaul of the corporate revenue laws would more effectively keep companies in the United States than tax penalties. “I think we can get at the goal here,” he said, “which is to keep American businesses American, manufacture in America and sell them overseas – that can be properly addressed with comprehensive tax reform.”
Mr. Trump’s economic positions clashed with traditional conservatives during the period of the campaign, but now these differences – on trade, government spending on infrastructure, and tax policies – have set the incoming president on a perilous course with his own party, whose backing he needs to keep his agenda on track.
There will be a tax of 35 percent on these companies wanting to sell their products across the border, Mr. Trump said in a series of Twitter messages over the weekend.
The response from Republican leaders underscored the limits of legislating with limited characters at a time on Twitter, and gave Democrats cause to believe they can work with Mr. Trump to outmaneuver congressional Republicans next year.