Mar 25, 2019

Three Solutions to America’s Trade Woes: Here’s how lawmakers are working to fix trade

Post by Freedom Partners

When Americans can trade, businesses, workers and consumers thrive. Trade is what keeps America running. It puts inexpensive goods on our shelves, allows U.S. businesses to sell their goods in markets across the globe and supports tens of millions of jobs here at home.

But tariffs, quotas and other trade barriers adversely affect Americans by raising the costs of everyday goods, hurting domestic companies and inviting foreign tariffs in response, which limit the ability of American manufacturers, farmers and other job creators to sell their products to foreign consumers.

Congress has a role in trade

Because tariffs are taxes, which can harm many Americans, our Founding Fathers deliberately placed the power to raise them in the hands of the duly elected congressional representatives of the American people.

In other words, Congress was given the power to raise taxes, which gives Americans a say in whether and how their money is taxed.

But Congress has delegated some of that authority related to tariffs over the years and it’s time to give that power back where the Founders believed it should rest – with our representatives in Congress.

Here’s what Congress can do

Fortunately, three pieces of legislation introduced by members of Congress will help rein in the executive branch’s unilateral authority to raise tariffs, bringing greater certainty to Americans, their businesses and their families.

The Trade Security Act: Sen. Rob Portman’s bill would shift the authority to investigate possible national security threats from the Commerce Department to the Defense Department and give Congress a greater ability to vote against tariff increases.

The Global Trade Accountability Act: Rep. Warren Davidson’s bill would provide Congress with greater oversight over trade decisions made by the executive branch. In practice, this would mean that Congress must vote to approve proposed tariff increases before they go into effect. This would be a significant reform toward restricting unilaterally imposing costly tariffs.

The Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act: Sen. Pat Toomey’s measure would require Congress to approve tariffs sought by the executive branch on the basis of national security within 60 days. If the tariffs don’t receive congressional approval within that time frame, they do not go into effect. The bill would also require Congress to retroactively approve tariffs imposed for national security reasons during the last four years. What’s more, like the Trade Security Act, it would transfer national security reviews to the Department of Defense.