June 07, 2018

Support Continues to Grow for Legislation Requiring Congressional Approval of National Security-Designated Tariffs

WASHINGTON – Support continues to grow for legislation introduced Wednesday by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a bipartisan group of senators to require congressional approval of tariffs designated under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

The legislation, cosponsored by Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), requires the president to submit to Congress any proposal to adjust imports in the interest of national security under Section 232. For a 60-day period following submission, legislation to approve the proposal will qualify for expedited consideration, guaranteeing the opportunity for debate and a vote. The requirement would apply to all Section 232 actions moving forward, as well as those taken within the past two years.

Here for America: “We support the measure introduced today by Senator Corker to require Congressional approval prior to the imposition of tariffs or other restrictions on imports for national security reasons. The current steel and aluminum tariffs and the recent initiation of a Section 232 investigation on automobiles and automobile parts imports demonstrates the need for such oversight. No auto industry voices have suggested this sector is in the midst of a national security crisis or asked for this protection. In fact, the US auto industry today is thriving with sales, production, and exports at near all-time highs. We encourage Congress and the President to work together on policies that will ensure the U.S. auto industry remains strong, competitive and innovative. The future growth and prosperity of our industry and the American jobs it generates depend on it.”

Cody Lusk, president and CEO, American International Automobile Dealers Association: “The Trump administration’s demonstrated willingness to use section 232 to declare certain industries, including steel, aluminum, and autos, threats to national security, and punish them with harsh tariffs, is an actual threat to the American economy. Senator Corker has introduced an amendment that reclaims Congress’ constitutional authority to regulate foreign trade through the section 232 process. The amendment could save hundreds of thousands of American jobs, including 570,000 auto retail jobs, being threatened by tariffs.”

Dennis Slater, president, Association of Equipment Manufacturers: “We applaud this effort by a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators to strengthen our nation’s system of checks and balances, especially as it relates to this administration’s decision to place harmful tariffs on steel and aluminum. We fully believe in Congress’ authority to ‘regulate foreign trade’ and urge other members of the U.S. Senate to support this bipartisan bill. As we’ve said before, starting a trade war with our nation’s largest trading partners and allies disrupts our entire global trading system and could jeopardize many of the 1.3 million good-paying jobs our industry supports. These harmful tariffs directly contribute to higher steel prices and increase costs for agriculture and construction machinery, making it very difficult for our industry to continue generating roughly $159 billion to the U.S. economy each year.”

Hun Quach, vice president of international trade, Retail Industry Leaders Association: “We applaud Senators Corker, Heitkamp, Alexander, Warner, Toomey and Schatz’s efforts to steer the trade agenda in the right direction. This amendment is a good start. A three-front trade war will lead to higher prices and greater uncertainty for American businesses and consumers. It is time for Congress to recognize that broadly implemented tariffs on everyday essentials will only harm American families.”

Matt Priest, president and CEO, Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America: “The U.S. footwear industry is deeply concerned that the new tariffs have already brought uncertainty for our companies, harm to U.S. consumers, and retaliation from some our nation’s most important trading partners. Since Congress has the constitutional responsibility to oversee our nation’s trade policy, it remains imperative that Congress maintains an active role in these trade decisions. We appreciate Senator Corker and a bipartisan group of Senators for taking the lead to ensure we have a process in place that reflects the central role of Congress in trade policy and gives American businesses some much-needed economic certainty.”

National Taxpayers Union: “Senator Corker’s amendment, S. 3013, would amend the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to require Congressional approval before the President adjusts imports that are determined to threaten to impair national security. Under this amendment, any potential tariffs to be applied under Section 232 would be submitted to Congress and taken up via an expedited procedure to ensure timely consideration. In addition, the amendment includes a two-year reach-back mechanism to capture and harmonize recent trade decisions with this improved approach. Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the authority to impose tariffs and regulate foreign commerce. This is an essential power that Congress should reclaim and use to prevent damaging trade policies that could hurt both our economy and consumers.”

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