Senate Republicans voted Thursday to advance a bill that would require U.S. producers to pay for iron and steel that are made in countries that do not want to export the products.
The measure would also prevent the U.K. from imposing its own restrictions on imports.
The bill passed easily in the House, but failed in the Senate, where it is expected to face a tough re-election battle in November.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement Thursday that the bill is a “pro-American measure” that helps “protect our manufacturing jobs, our U.N. membership and our workers from foreign theft.”
“Our exports of U.s. manufactured goods to the U and EU are vital to the global economy,” McConnell said.
“It is no coincidence that these exports have grown the fastest in the last 30 years.”
The bill’s passage was a boost to Republican candidates who have been urging their party to move more quickly to stop the flow of foreign-made goods into the U, particularly from China.
The White House is urging Congress to pass a similar bill, as it did in the wake of a similar proposal to force China to open its market for goods.
President Donald Trump has called for a “major” trade war against China, and Senate Democrats have sought to counter that by pushing for a bipartisan deal to address trade disputes.