New bill to constrain Trump’s tariff powers introduced in US Congress

Friday, 28 June 2019 19:43:10 (GMT+3)   |   San Diego

Senators Tom Carper (D–Del.) and Tim Kaine (D–Va.), along with Representative Stephanie Murphy (D–Fla.) introduced a bill in Congress this week that would place new limitations on two laws that currently allow presidents to unilaterally impose tariffs for alleged national security purposes.

Targeting Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the legislation would automatically lift tariffs imposed by the president after 120 days unless they receive congressional approval.  

The lawmakers backing the bill said the effort is motivated by evidence that Americans are negatively affected by Trump's Section 232 tariffs, along with Trump’s recent threats about slapping tariffs on Mexican goods to force them to deal with the influx of immigrants into the US. Trump planned to use provisions in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to leverage such tariffs.

In a statement, Senator Murphy said working families “should not have to pay the price for the president's reckless use of this tariff authority. The time has come for Congress to reclaim its constitutional authority over trade.”

Tariffs Hurt The Heartland, a national pro-trade group that has tracked the consequences of Trump’s trade war, found that tariffs have cost American consumers and businesses more than $27 billion. As such, business and retail groups are supporting the legislation.

"At a time when American businesses and consumers are facing unprecedented tariffs imposed unilaterally, it's time to reexamine the appropriate balance on trade policy between Congress and the executive branch," said David French, vice president for government relations at the National Retail Association, in a statement.

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