Senators Introduce Bill to Limit Trump’s Power to Levy Import Tariffs
Bipartisan frustration over Trump’s use of tariffs in trade wars has lead to a new bill to curtail the President’s power.
United States lawmakers are taking steps to reduce the president’s power to level import tariffs on foreign goods for national security reasons.
According to the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the President to able to impose tariffs without approval from Congress as long as such actions are in the interest of national security. But the national security loophole has become a bipartisan concern as legislators on both sides of the aisle have disagreed with and worried about the consequences of tariffs imposed by the Trump administration in recent years.
A bipartisan proposal seeks to close the national security loophole with the introduction of the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act.
The new bill was introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. In the Senate, Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Republican Senator Pat Toomey co-sponsored the bill. In the House, the bill was introduced by Republicans Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Darin LaHood of Illinois, and Democrats Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Jimmy Panetta of California.
The bill would require any President to have Congressional approval before taking trade actions and applying tariffs or quotas.
While it remains unclear if the bill will pass, the fact that it is supported by bipartisan lawmakers indicates how Trump’s trade tactics have worried Congress.
Toomey has berated the Trump administration for imposing levies under the guise of national security, saying it is “weakening our economy, threatening American jobs, and eroding our credibility with other nations.”
Toomey introduced a similar bill in 2018 but it was never voted upon.
“Virginia consumers and industries like craft beer and agriculture are hurting because of the President’s steel and aluminum tariffs,” said Democratic Senator Mark Warner, co-sponsor of the Senate legislation. “This bill would roll them back.”
In some cases, it is possible for companies to exempt themselves from tariffs like the steel and aluminum tariffs, but the process is burdensome and unsure.
Whether the new bill will be successful is unclear, but it demonstrates the across the board frustrations Congress has had with Trump’s trade tactics. Congress is also heading towards a vote on the North American trade deal that was set late last year.