Congress Trade

Grocers, Retailers, Manufacturers Tell Congress to Take Power Back From Trump

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

A group of the nation's largest trade associations have banded together under the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and signed a letter calling on Congress to take back the power to regulate commerce.

Trump has conducted his trade war exclusively through executive action by invoking a nearly 50-year-old trade law that was never intended to be used the way Trump is using it and, to that end, the largest retailers are calling on Congress to change the law.

From Reuters:

NFTC President Rufus Yerxa said the U.S. Constitution gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, and lawmakers should ensure that tariffs were used only in exceptional circumstances.

Not since the 1930s has our country relied so heavily on tariffs in an attempt to pick winners in the U.S. market while overlooking the broader consequences for other industries and our economy as a whole,” he said in a statement.

The 23 groups outlined their concerns in a letter to the two congressional committees that oversee foreign trade, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. [...]

The letter was signed by large U.S. trade associations, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the National Retail Federation, the Association of Global Automakers, and the American International Automobile Dealers Association.

Congress could end Trump's trade war tomorrow if they had the political will to do so, but they do not.

There are some Democratic representatives in the House that are actually sympathetic to Trump's trade war, but the greater obstacle is the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not even hold a vote on a hypothetical bill to revoke Trump's authority.

Some Senate Republicans threatened to revoke Trump's authority when he threatened to impose blanket tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico earlier this year, but Trump backed down and his authority was never tested. I'm skeptical that they would have stopped him in any case.

This issue will likely fade from public consciousnesses relatively quickly when Trump's trade war ends, but the next Congress and administration should make it a priority to amend the law so no future administration can do what Trump has done.

Across the board, it should be a priority to plug loopholes and eliminate ambiguity in all federal law to guard against the next Trump. Republicans have crossed far beyond a line where they can be expected to adhere to precedent or societal norms. They will use every creative interpretation of the law they can think of and future laws should be written to account for that.

  • Scopedog

    “…..but the greater obstacle is the fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not even hold a vote on a hypothetical bill to revoke Trump’s authority.”

    Of course.

    But even this cold, blunt truth will not stop the “NANCY PELOSI IS A WEAK-@$$ BI#@H!! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THE DEMOCRAPS?” moaning that we keep seeing on social media, especially from the fine folks who, back in 2016, gave us numerous excuses about how Trump would be better than Hillary.

    • Badgerite

      I never understood how anyone could watch that POS on the campaign trail and come to that conclusion. What would be ambiguous in terms of character to someone standing on a stage and literally mocking someone with Spina Bifida? What would one be confused about when seeing that?

  • muselet

    I’d be more impressed if there had been vigorous pushback from trade associations when Donald Trump first went on his tariff rampage.

    Better late than never, I suppose.

    I’m not convinced the NFTC’s (justified) complaint will have much effect, anyway. Even if Congress were to choose to act—stop laughing—Trump would find some other law to misapply, or maybe he’d declare Congress’s change in the law violated his Article 2 (“I have an Article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”); regardless, he would tie the matter up in the courts till Doomsday.

    I’m not saying Congress should do nothing, just that we should keep our expectations under control.


  • Draxiar

    I’m sure Hillary takes no pleasure in seeing what trump is doing to deep six the nation but damn, I have to believe that there’s a part of her that’s like, “I warned you and you didn’t want to listen.”