Jul 12, 2018

Congress Moves to Block Unilateral Executive Branch Tariff Hikes

Post by Freedom Partners

The Senate voted 88-11 to pass a motion introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) in support of giving Congress a stronger role in determining when the United States can levy tariffs on the grounds of national security.

The vote sent a clear message: Congress must have a say in the imposition of tariffs.

The non-binding motion came just a day after the administration proposed new 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

In June, Senator Corker, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced legislation to require congressional approval of tariffs designated under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Section 232 allows the president to investigate if national security is threatened by imports.

The Senate resolution would restore the constitutional authority on trade granted to Congress under Article 1, section 8, clauses 1 and 3. Corker, Toomey and Flake have sought an up-or-down vote on their legislation since its introduction.

Following the Senate vote, Senator Toomey explained the harm tariffs can have on the America economy on FOX News, saying “Protectionism leads to higher costs, fewer options for consumers and fewer jobs for American exporters. And that’s not a good combination.”

Recent polling shows three-quarters of voters expect the escalation in tariffs with the world’s second-largest economy to raise product prices at home. 56 Percent to 39 percent expect the conflict will lead to job losses.

The newly introduced tariffs negatively impact countless American businesses and consumers. Congress should build on the momentum created by the Senate vote to ensure they have a say in future tariffs.