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Ernst declines to say whether she would vote against Trump tariffs on Mexico

Sen. Joni Ernst declined Thursday to say whether she would vote with other Republicans to oppose President Donald Trump's plan to impose tariffs on Mexican imports.

Speaking with reporters Thursday, Ernst said she didn't want to speculate on how she would vote if Republicans challenge the president's plans to tariff Mexican goods.

"I hope we don't actually get to that point," Ernst said. "The administration and President Trump ... know where I stand and where a number of colleagues stand on this issue.

"Overwhelmingly, my conference does not support additional tariffs coming from the president, especially on the issue of the humanitarian crisis happening at the border," said Ernst, who added that she spoke with the president on Friday about the issue.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Mexico and U.S. officials were working on a plan that would boost migrant enforcement, but cautioned that Trump might not sign off on the proposal.

Ernst and Sen. Chuck Grassley, also a Republican, have said Trump's plan to levy tariffs on Mexican goods would derail efforts to get congressional passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Grassley said he doubted the Mexico tariffs would go into effect Monday. “There’s a lot of negotiation going on right now between Mexico and the United States, and I expect those negotiations to be successful, because I think Mexico knows that their economy and our economy are tied together. … My guess would be it won’t even be an issue," he said. 

Grassley said Mexico would likely agree to tighten control of its southern border with Guatemala, over which many Central American migrants have crossed on their way to the United States. He predicted the issue would be settled before Trump travels to Iowa next Tuesday, and he doubted Congress would need to consider any resolutions opposed to the tariffs.

Both have said tariffs are not the right approach to address the humanitarian crisis at the border.

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