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As tariffs begin to stack up and the prospect of higher prices for consumers comes hurtling closer, the question of “Why isn’t anybody doing anything about” gets asked more and more. There is more than one answer to that question.

The failure by lawmakers and the private sector to rein in the president on trade is not for lack of trying, although we should not overestimate what can be done. Congress poaching authority from the president is extremely difficult. It would require a veto-proof majority, which means Republicans would have to buck the president and his all-important base during an election year. That doesn’t seem likely.

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