Trade

Business Groups Support Bill to Block Trump’s Tariffs

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

A coalition of business groups from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to even the Koch Brothers' Americans for Prosperity group are throwing their support behind the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act introduced by Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI).

The legislation, if it somehow miraculously becomes law, would block Trump or any future president from imposing tariffs for "national security" reasons without congressional approval.

From Bloomberg:

Trump relied on Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act to impose duties on imports of steel and aluminum from most countries -- including Canada, Mexico and other allies. [...]

The Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act introduced on Jan. 30 in the House and Senate would give Congress 60 days to approve any proposed trade actions under Section 232 of the law, and change the definition of “national security” with regards to tariffs. Similar efforts didn’t advance last year, and Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, one of the bill’s sponsors, said he’s still trying to gauge support.

The Trade Expansion Act was signed into law in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy and Section 232 was specifically written to give Kennedy the power to curtail imports from Cuba for legitimate national security reasons.

Prior to Trump's use of the law, Section 232 had only been invoked twice since 1962.

Congress has never rewritten or amended the law because it was never necessary. No other administration has recklessly used and abused the power the way the Trump regime has. Like so many other mechanisms of government, the Trumps have followed the law much the same way a white collar criminal does.

Now, at the end of the day, even having the Chamber of Commerce and the Koch Brothers behind this legislation may not matter. It may not matter because Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not even jump unless Trump tells him how high and it's unlikely that he'll allow a vote on it.

Metal industry trade groups are opposing this legislation because metal industry executives (not their workers) may be the only people in the country who've benefited from Trump's trade war.

  • gescove

    Drumpf’s comments on tariffs in the SOTU were astonishing: “We recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods – and now our treasury is receiving billions of dollars.” That money is coming from taxes on US businesses and consumers. It’s not as though the Chinese are writing fat tariff checks to the US government. Not to mention the Chinese have imposed reciprocal tariffs in retaliation. So higher taxes, higher prices, and a slowing economy — thanks Trump Tariffs!

  • muselet

    For the good of the nation (and the world economy), the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act or something very like it needs to be passed as soon as possible.

    Now, you’ll have to excuse me for a few minutes. After agreeing with *shudder* Americans for Prosperity, I need to take a Silkwood shower.

    –alopecia