Toomey and Warner Reintroduce Legislation to Restore Authority over “National Security” Tariffs

Washington DC – US Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) And Mark Warner (D-Va.), Today introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent the presidential abuse of “national security” tariffs by restoring the authority of Congress on trade. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Maggie Hassan (DN.H .), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jerry Moran (R – Kansas), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Tim Scott (RS.C.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.) and Thom Tillis (RN.C.) are the cosponsors originals on legislation.

Congressional Bicameral Business Authority Act would submit for consideration and approval by Congress before coming into effect any tariff or quota proposed by the President and applied for national security purposes (through the authority of Section 232). Previous administrations unilaterally abused Section 232 tariffs to protect favored industries, resulting in economic disruption, damage to U.S. relations with our allies, and retaliatory tariffs detrimental to U.S. farmers and manufacturers.

“For too long, Congress has allowed presidents to unilaterally impose tariffs on false claims of ‘national security’ – whether or not the import in question poses a real threat to national defense. These wrongly imposed tariffs have increased costs for American consumers, significantly weighed down domestic manufacturers, and undermined our relationships with our allies. Through the Congressional Bicameral Trade Authority Act, we can restore the authority of Congress by once again requiring that tariffs imposed for so-called “national security” purposes be approved by Congress, including those already imposed. adopted on steel and aluminum in 2018 ” said Senator Toomey.

“As our economy continues to recover from the economic crisis, we must make sure that Congress has a say in any future action that may restrict trade or force substantial changes,” he added. said Senator Warner. “This legislation, which we introduced under the last administration, will help prevent any future president from abusing national security authorities to impose unilateral tariffs. It will also help ensure that all efforts to crack down on unfair or illegal trade practices are strategic and carried out in concert with our allies. “

Under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act 1962, Congress has delegated certain tariffs and quotas to the executive under certain conditions in the event that an import poses a threat to national security. Historically, Section 232 investigations have been rare and rarely resulted in the imposition of tariffs – before 2018, a President last took action under Section 232 in 1986.

However, the previous administration made extensive use of Section 232, unilaterally imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum and investigating six additional products. In the 60 years of Section 232’s existence, about a quarter of investigations have taken place in the past four years alone.

To avoid a future abuse of Section 232 authority, the Senators’ Bill would require congressional approval in the event the executive chooses to adjust import levels. It would also restore the national security intent to the law, defining the term “national security” to include articles specifically related to military equipment, energy resources and critical infrastructure.

Several outside groups have expressed their support for the Congressional Bicameral Business Authority Act, comprising: National Foreign Trade Council, Tariff Reform Coalition, Business Roundtable, US Chamber of Commerce, Retail Industry Leaders Association, National Retail Federation, Autos Drive America, Precision Metalforming Association, Precision Machined Products Association, Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users, Associated Builders and Entrepreneurs, Industrial Fasteners Institute, Hands-On Science Partnership, National Tooling & Machining Association, North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, American Apparel & Footwear Association, and Association of Equipment Manufacturers .

On September 24, the Biden administration launched a new Section 232 investigation into the national security impacts of imported neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) permanent magnets – rare earth magnets – that are used in the production of wind turbines, electric vehicles and a number of other elements.

The text of the invoice is available here.

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