Republican Sen. Rick Scott told CNBC on Monday the U.S. government should return money collected from China tariffs to Americans as tax relief.
"Anything we raise in tariffs, we should give back to the rank and public in tax reductions," the Florida senator said in a "Squawk Box" interview, acknowledging there's been some "short-term pain."
"We have to help American farmers open up more markets around the world," said Scott, who did not elaborate on what such relief might look like.
Data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which collects taxes on imports, showed the U.S. had assessed $23.7 billion in tariffs from early 2018 through May 1. According to a Reuters report, total tariff revenue rose 73% in the first half of 2019 from a year earlier.
The trade dispute between the world's two largest economies has been escalating in recent months, with investors fearing that it could slow global and U.S. economic growth. In fact, Goldman Sachs lowered its fourth-quarter U.S. growth forecast by 0.2% to 1.8%, with the cumulative drag on gross domestic product of 0.6%.
President Donald Trump, earlier this month announced an impeding 10% tariff on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese goods that had not been previously taxed. Back In May, Trump hiked tariffs to 25% from 10% on $200 billion in Chinese goods.
"We have to help American companies ... and get more American jobs and stop helping China," Scott said. "Stop acting like they are a partner," adding he doesn't see how a trade deal can be reached.
"I'm not sure what else we can do, other than stand up for American interests and American values," he wondered. "I'm not sure what the president can do otherwise than the tariffs he is doing."