Trump signs action imposing tariffs on China

Trump took aim at the trade deficit with China as the House passed a spending bill to fund the government.
12:34 | 03/22/18

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Transcript for Trump signs action imposing tariffs on China
President Donald travel planes signature to a new order that would slap tariffs on as much as dollars and imports with China. Higher one uneasy his political director Rick Klein and has been watching the live picture the president making that making that signature official. The need new tariffs could take effect in as little as fifteen days he says he'll be the first of many comes on the heels of course of of these announcements. Regarding. New tariffs this is major escalation. And a major change in trade policy I'm joined now at the White House by Alex Allen White House reporter Alison even talking to White House officials. How are they framing this in what concerns that they addressing when it comes to the broader economy yet you treat war very real right now. Flooding that we're definitely seeing some of the most aggressive action from the trump administration with these latest moves but this is something that the White House has actually been working on. For months and months well. You know into mid 20s17 was when president trump actually ordered this review. By the Commerce Department to look at the ways. That China might be abusing intellectual property rights US companies. And so this is something that was actually rolled out a lot differently than what we saw with those tariffs on steel and aluminum this is something that was deliberated. Throughout the US trade representatives office. It was pretty smooth compared only with those terrorists which word were Morse a sporadic and seemed out of almost out of nowhere. Just did. What we heard from the present on the campaign trail but but a key ally from the president and what he just said there was this was one of the main reasons that I was elected. So he obviously knows that this is this is something that dates well back even before he was a candidate. And something that he's always brought right on even before. He entered the political arena he'd he believes that China is eating. The US is lunch and he believes that it's time that leaders take a stronger stance and retaliate against them. And indeed it talk on the came for the campaign trail the markets are reacting and I want to get back to that. In a second but there's another story line developing just down the road on Pennsylvania Avenue over the capital where the House of Representatives is in the midst of voting right now. On a massive spending bill that would cover the rest of this fiscal year it is a hodgepodge of so many different things and also could be the last legislative action. Of the year Alley Rogen who covers Capitol Hill for us joins us by phone Alley looks like this is going to go through at least in the house. Give us a sense though of how big a deal this is and how much money we're talking. Eric it looks like the house just now got enough votes to pass this. The vote is still open as you mentioned but it would Clayton can appeal to the house. Bennett head to the senate I'll talk about the fate there in a second but couple top line numbers in this budget agreement. It includes a big increase in military spending from last year and a slight pay raise. First service members that's something that Republicans are counting particular leak. Big I know the White House is holding an off camera briefing right erred on camera briefing right now. This sort of been what they see is the that's expected in this omnibus spending bill. It all to include. One point six billion dollars in border security which is much less. Then what president trump wanted he was calling for 25. Billion. So there was question yesterday as to whether or not he was actually going to be willing Q. Signed his ability to lock. Because it did not included much border funding as he wants to. If the bill also funds in can paint hunting for this. Sort of very small project. A relatively speaking that president trump has chosen as his. And in particular this thing that he really wanted to defeat this sedate. Tunnel project that spanned new York and New Jersey of course represented by his books while at the moment. Senator Chuck Schumer it's called the gateway project. This bill does contain funding for gateway and the president really upset about that. A couple things with bill does not include. It doesn't include. And any solution on. A revolution. Q that. Deferred action for the children of people who came here illegally that doc a program those dreamers. It doesn't create any collision on that and there's actually no it only about thirty miles of new look. Oh wall construction included now border security app portion of the bill. The last thing that I want to mention is that this bill does include a a bill that had bipartisan support. Q shore up the national instant criminal background test. Check system it's called the pick nick bill and it would encourage and forced. State and local authorities Q fully report. Background check information. Q. Did the federal authorities for when folks try to buy a gun. This bill is geared towards. On making sure that nobody fall through the crack like they did in the case of Parkland. That the bipartisan bill Democrats say that the belief that congress should be viewing but it does get done in this bill wreck. Yeah and how it should be noted this is probably the last action we're going to see on guns despite the fact that that the mark for a lives going on this weekend hundreds of thousands of teenagers are expected in Washington and beyond. I do want imagines you imagine this conservative. Opposition the president upset about this heard from conservatives saying it's not it's not good that we're building this tunnel but toppled wall that's one talking point. But but things are gonna move get more interesting in the senate I feel like we've seen this movie before Alley we got this government shutdown looming at the end of Friday night but senator Rand Paul. The Republican now libertarian leaning Republican from Kentucky is not signing off on this so it's possible the government actually shuts down at least briefly once again. Yes for the big issue here is when the senate. Actually start voting on this bill they have the ability if all hundred members of the senate or 99 not counting Senator John McCain his not here. They all have to agree to bring this bill immediately to the floor in a profit known as unanimous consent. That's something that frequently noncontroversial bills they just get unanimous consent they go right to the floor and they get a vote. Ring call a few months ago didn't exact same thing where he was V one member of the senate who decided not to agree to that unanimous consent agreement. Thereby forcing. A much bigger period of debate on this bill and plunging the government in QE very brief shut down it was just a few hours. But it was enough to call it an actual shot down. Right now he is not signaling how he's going to vote a source. Familiar with his thinking told me just a minute ago that he wants Q number one talk cube his colleague. The senate is right now in aid in their daily launched. And those senate Republicans are gonna have a chance to discuss this bill. Convince Rand Paul one way or the other he also wants to read the bill wreck which. You know surprise surprise to send I want to read a bill but this Philip more than 220 be Delon. Luckily senator Paul in an eye doctor so if anybody can avoid their eyes getting. Going blind by reading 2000 pages of documents it's senator Paul. 2200 pages in the art Alley Rogen thanks for giving us that update reverend Paul locked away popularity contests on capitol. Once again I wanted to back to Alex Malin over the White House as that event wrapped up a few moments ago we got word the president that answered a quick question about whether he'd like to. Answer questions before Robert Mueller and his answer Alex is that he would like to he's been consistent on that I guess some Mike is this that the White House may be a little bit less so. Yeah I mean I think that the White House has been the ones who've actually the only ones in the lawfully on that. Presents a yes I would like to I would like to sit down smaller and this comes just as did the announcement that one of his lead attorneys John Dowd. Is resigning. From from his position. I'm unclear just how that might be changing his legal strategy but we know that the president is is anxious to he loves the idea I think. I think similar to his fascination with the idea of being able to sit down with somebody like him John in. Do you he thinks kind of in the mind of a TV producer he likes the idea of a show. And I think that you know he's not really fazed by. Any potential legal problems that would present and being. Sat face to face with Robert Mueller even though. Many of his former campaign associates. When they've been face to face of the special counts special counsel seem. Have managed to did himself into some pretty pretty significantly. Hot water. We'll have to see if if he's new lawyers in many different advice and Alex we have though the picture up there of the of the Dow industrial average we're seeing. Some market losses today a lot of fears on Wall Street. Around potential trade wars the president a city welcomes that trade war we saw. A drop on Wall Street least temporarily when he announced those tariffs a couple couple weeks ago what is the White House saying here are standing is there could be. Some 12100 plus consumer products that are get more expensive for American consumers. Is there are concerned that this is going to impact the economy and negative ways many economists are saying. The White House is generally just tried to downplay. These losses in the Dow they've said the you know they point to. The dramatic gains in the Dow since president trump took office that it that it still remains despite maybe today's losses or tomorrow's or several weeks ago. Finding out of the steel and aluminum tariffs and there was that dip in the Dow. On they basically say that despite those those. Period of losses that that the overall strength of the economy. Continues to hold end and they believe that. That the markets will correct themselves and there's really no reason to worry the president will continue to go out in front of crowds and how those being those gains in the Dow and ask Google did just look at your 401 k.s and see what I've see what the economy's doing for you as long as those numbers aren't traffic dropping drastically. Over a long period time I think that that's something to the content they're gonna continue to do as for the trade war I mean the president over Twitter has seemed anxious for the idea of being able to go tit for tat. With counter countries like China with the EU. In in able being basically saying. You think you guys and one up me we'll see about that and so I think he'd leave grosses the kind of idea. That that he's going to be able to put America's trade power against other countries and he doesn't really see that there's a way that we come out. Anywhere else but on top. Finally Alex Allen over the White House that the president. Could be getting this spending bill to his desk before the weekend was the waiting on the senate a little bit. We've understand we understood from our reporting in from reporting in New York Times Washington Post and others that. President is not happy with this deal he's been raging about it privately. Is there any worry or any sense in the White House this whether he may not actually sign this bill that he could send it back and prolong the government shut down because it doesn't filling up his priorities. Letting their parents by M on B director Michael mania just down the briefing room kind of sought to. You know Burton relieve everybody of that potential concern that the president is going through at the very last minute decide to just not sign. This budget agreement but I think that. Make moving mean made it clear that he the president does intend decided that I think the president made clear in his tweets late last night that he. He's not totally. Excited about the idea of having a sigh he said. He praises the idea that he was able to get one point six billion dollars to start the wall in the southern borders how he how he phrased it. But that is woefully short of the 25 billion. That the that the administration was originally asking for in order to you to get the wall. Really started. In exchange for that doc fix but he also noted in his tweet he that he had to give away they said had to waste money on them giveaways. In order to take care of military pay increase. And new quick new equipment. So at you heard from maple Maine the briefing. That the that the administration is reconciled with the idea that they're not going to get sixty votes in the senate on a any anything that would be. Just what they want and so I think that there just kind of living with that legislative reality. Interview go to an elevated as an ever congress he was among those that almost certainly be voting against this deal lot of us. Former colleagues in the house freedom caucus among those who were on the no side of this letter in the house we're waiting on the senate. Alex Mallon over at the White House thanks you our thanks also to Alley Rogen we're gonna keep an eye out all of these stories you can watch. All day long abcnews.com and download the ABC news app. I'm ABC news political director recline thanks for watching.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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