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house Bill H.R. 1008

Should Congress Reassert its Authority Over Trade and Tariff Policy?

Argument in favor

Congress needs to reassert its constitutional authority over U.S. trade and tariff policies and expand its oversight of the executive branch, particularly as it relates to tariffs imposed by President Trump on questionable national security grounds.

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03/02/2019
Yes. Congress is and should be The Authority.. Not having checks and balances, is unethical and unconstitutional. The United States is not a dictatorship.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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03/02/2019
Given as our current President has absolutely no idea what constitutes a National Security Threat, nor a National Emergency, it makes great sense that both the DOD and Congress are more involved in their actual constitutional roles, the DOD deciding what actually is a threat to the Nation and Congress handling the Power of the Purse.
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Thelma's Opinion
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03/02/2019
Congress has given away too much of its power to the executive branch. We must regain balance if we are going to represent all Americans once more.
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Argument opposed

The president has the power to impose tariffs due to national security concerns and there’s no need for Congress to interfere in how the executive branch carries out U.S. trade policy. Alternatively, it wouldn’t apply retroactively to Trump’s tariffs.

Cherie65's Opinion
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03/02/2019
You mean should democrats continue to power grab? No. This has become a fight for the right to stop the deeply disturb left from completely screwing up our country. Every single issue, including this, they support is NOT about what’s best for Americans, it’s about contoling us from cradle (if you lucky enough to survive birth) to grave. Mark my words, we are moving incrementally to a fascist, socialist government. What list is next?
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Dennis's Opinion
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03/02/2019
Congress has been a do nothing bunch for years. Trump is finally getting things done and they fight him every step of the way.
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Jim2423's Opinion
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03/02/2019
It appears the Democrats are just a bunch of whiny 😫 poohs. Our President is doing fine with our trade agreements. Congress is not doing a very good job anyways with all their Kangaroo Courts.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedFebruary 6th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1008?

This bill — the Trade Security Act of 2019 — would reform the Section 232 statute to ensure that any Section 232 trade actions are based on national security determinations by the Dept. of Defense (DOD) and give Congress more power to reject tariffs levied under Section 232.

Specifically, this bill would:

  • Bifurcate the existing Section 232 process into an investigation phase, led by the DOD, and a remedy phase, led by the Dept. of Commerce so as to play to each agency’s strengths and ensure that the statute is used for genuine national security purposes.
  • Require the DOD – instead of the Dept.  of Commerce – to justify the national security basis for new tariffs under Section 232 and make the determination about the national security threat posed by imports of certain products. If a threat is found, the DOD would send its report to the president. When the president decides to take action based on the finding of a national security threat, they would direct the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Defense, and the U.S. Trade Representative to develop recommendations for how to respond. After receiving the recommendations the president would decide whether to take action.
  • Increase the role of Congress in the Section 232 process by expanding the ability of Congress to reject a Section 232 action by passing a joint resolution of disapproval. Currently, Section 232 contains a disapproval resolution process limited only to the disapproval of actions on oil imports, which was inserted into Section 232 in 1980 by Congress in response to concerns about the misuse of the statute. This bill would expand the use of that disapproval resolution process to all types of products. The reformed disapproval process wouldn’t be available for retroactive use.
  • Require consultation with Congress throughout the Section 232 process.

Impact

Trade; tariffs; DOD: Dept. of Commerce; Congress; and the president.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1008

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced this bill to reassert Congressional authority over trade and tariff policy and redesignate national security threat assessments in regards to trade agreements to the Department of Defense:

“This Administration’s go-it-alone approach of resolving our trade imbalances has sparked a trade war that is hurting Wisconsin farmers, workers, and families. The National Security tariff process is being misused, at the cost of our rural and local economies. It is long-past time for Congress to reassert its constitutionally-granted power in our Nation’s trade policy and protect our export power.”

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-ITN), an original cosponsor of this bill, adds that it’s needed to ensure that trade disagreements are handled appropriately:

“The president is right to seek a level playing field for American businesses and workers, but the best way to do that is with a scalpel, not an axe. Overly broad tariffs continue to harm manufacturers in my district and threaten our nation’s economic momentum, and it’s clear the national security tariff process is flawed. This bipartisan bill would restore fairness, transparency, and accountability to the Section 232 process, ensure these tariffs are only used when necessary to protect our national security, and give the American people a voice by strengthening congressional oversight.”

Americans for Prosperity calls this bill a “step in the right direction.” Its president, Tim Phillips, says:

“With each new tariff, American workers, businesses and consumers face what is essentially higher taxes that undermine economic expansion and job growth. The bipartisan Trade Security Act will allow Congress to provide a check on new tariffs. We support the efforts of Sen. Portman, Rep. Kind and other lawmakers from both parties pursuing legislation to provide congressional review and approval of tariff increases. Our ultimate goal should be the elimination of all protectionist policies. This legislation is a step in the right direction.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which also supports this bill, adds that previous applications of Section 232 tariffs have inflicted harm on U.S. allies and alliances:

"[T]his legislation would help restore the proper constitutional role of Congress in tariff policy by providing for Congressional disapproval of prospective tariffs designated under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962… Earlier application of Sec. 232 tariffs has inflicted substantial harm on U.S. industry and consumers in every state... The imposition of these tariffs on many of America’s closest allies — ostensibly in the name of national security — has also undermined U.S. efforts to build an international coalition of like-minded countries to combat the use of unfair trade practices.”

This bill has six bipartisan House cosponsors, including three Democrats and three Republicans. A Senate companion bill, sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), has eight bipartisan cosponsors, including five Republicans and three Democrats. It also has the support of Americans for Prosperity, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Business Roundtable.


Of NoteThe Trump administration has used tariffs liberally in an attempt to remedy the trade deficit. As of December 5, 2018, the Trump administration had imposed $42 billion worth of tariffs on thousands of products, and had threatened additional tariffs of up to $129 billion. The first $42 billion of tariffs were estimated to reduce after-tax incomes by 0.30 percent on average; and the effect was more pronounced for households in the middle and lowest quintiles, whose after-tax incomes were reduced by 0.33 percent. If the threatened tariffs were all imposed, after-tax income for households in the bottom and middle quintiles would fall an additional 1.04 percent, versus an average decrease of 0.92 percent.

As the Brookings Institution’s Eswar Prasad points out, “A trade deficit is not necessarily a bad thing because it means that consumers are consuming more and there is more investment happening in the economy.” Moreover, Prasad contends, there are ultimately no winners in trade wars, as they create “concerns for the economy” that reduce consumer and business confidence, leading to decreased consumption and investment in the economy.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Kameleon007)

AKA

Trade Security Act of 2019

Official Title

To amend section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to require the Secretary of Defense to initiate investigations and to provide for congressional disapproval of certain actions, and for other purposes.

    Yes. Congress is and should be The Authority.. Not having checks and balances, is unethical and unconstitutional. The United States is not a dictatorship.
    Like (121)
    Follow
    Share
    You mean should democrats continue to power grab? No. This has become a fight for the right to stop the deeply disturb left from completely screwing up our country. Every single issue, including this, they support is NOT about what’s best for Americans, it’s about contoling us from cradle (if you lucky enough to survive birth) to grave. Mark my words, we are moving incrementally to a fascist, socialist government. What list is next?
    Like (67)
    Follow
    Share
    Given as our current President has absolutely no idea what constitutes a National Security Threat, nor a National Emergency, it makes great sense that both the DOD and Congress are more involved in their actual constitutional roles, the DOD deciding what actually is a threat to the Nation and Congress handling the Power of the Purse.
    Like (70)
    Follow
    Share
    Congress has given away too much of its power to the executive branch. We must regain balance if we are going to represent all Americans once more.
    Like (60)
    Follow
    Share
    Congress has been a do nothing bunch for years. Trump is finally getting things done and they fight him every step of the way.
    Like (55)
    Follow
    Share
    OMG, is this ANOTHER bill that makes sense with bipartisan support coming from the House of Representatives? Quick, the smelling salts!🥴 🤭. This is exactly how the House was intended to operate to MAINTAIN THE BALANCE OF POWER within the Federal government! Chess is the metaphor...when one branch tips the power in its direction, all the others should spring to action to right the balance! Having the full control of both Houses of Congress, the Republicans placed party above the People and neglected their duty to assert their power to right the ship of state. This is but one step to passage of this bill, and I hope the Senate gives it full consideration, and that both houses will come to some bipartisan way to pass it. I am certain it will not pass 100% as it is now, but work on it should begin NOW with a goal to reaching bicameral support in the very near future!
    Like (36)
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    It appears the Democrats are just a bunch of whiny 😫 poohs. Our President is doing fine with our trade agreements. Congress is not doing a very good job anyways with all their Kangaroo Courts.
    Like (33)
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    Yes because it is part of your Job. Why would you give up control and put more control into the presidents pocket? He’s a mad man. It’s called CHECKS and BALANCES. Just wait til next election. OMG. The Blue wave is coming again.
    Like (32)
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    The office of President is not above congress, it is equal. That means congress has equal power and equal responsibility.
    Like (23)
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    Congress is meant to be a balance to the president, the fact that republicans let him get away with things that are hurting the American people shows how widely unbalanced it is. Please take back your power and reassert your power over trade and tariffs.
    Like (22)
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    Congress is so ineffective now, we're better off just letting the President handle this for now.
    Like (21)
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    Please! Don’t leave it up to Dumbass! He’s created enough disasters already! As a matter of fact, he’s a walking disaster. That’s what he is! Miles, your ignorance knows no bounds. Your dumbass Idiot has only lied to you over 8,000 (yes, that’s over 8,000) times since he’s been in office. Your Repugnants have gerrymandered so much, they stole the Electoral College vote. They are doing everything they possibly can to stop people from voting. In several States where they lost the elections for Governor, they voted to seriously cut the powers the Governor had before the newly-elected one took over! And they have been silently, cunningly doing this for years. They are thieves that can only get elected through cheating and lying to you, their idiotic base. Just Google Trump’s lies, you Dummy. Or are you afraid to? Truth might bite you on the ass, eh? So, until you fact-check your dumbass statements, just keep your comments to yourself. We don’t need to hear any more lies from any more idiots. Thank you. Oh, and James and the rest of you, who have your heads so far up his ass you can’t think for yourselves, that goes for you, too! As I’ve stated before, this is not a Dem site. It just seems that way ‘cause YOU ARE IN THE MINORITY. So, get over it. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! Won’t bother us a bit! Bye, bye! 😊
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    Congress has no time for administrating Trade & Tariff Policy. Or anything else constructive. Instead they are far too busy with literally endless, politically motivated investigations into crimes that don’t exist.
    Like (17)
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    Congress needs to exert its control over our trade policy and provide a check on the Executive branch. The President should not be able enact tariffs whenever he feels like it and use questionable national security concerns in order to do it!
    Like (16)
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    Yes it should. Who the hell wants Donald Trump doing deals for trade. I mean really.....really? It’s like a kid that sank his dingy to being given a battleship.
    Like (14)
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    No. Another ploy by fascist democrats to take control over President Trump’s trading and tariff policies.
    Like (14)
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    Too my Representatives: Absolutely I support this position but I’m seriously disappointed that the Congress which has and is responsible for assuring a balance of power has and continues to do nothing while Trump continues to run amuck in his shortsighted and asinine policies. Congress has always-had and exercised this responsibility. Reassert my behind, step up and do your jobs and stop catering and cowering to Trump as if he’s a Monarch.
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    Fortunately our current President understands trade and common business practices. We suffered through eight years of incompetence from the community organizer. Thank God that he is gone and we have a real President. It’s time for the childishness on the left to stop!
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    Our current, inept resident of the WH is a LIFELONG LYING FOOL, who knows nothing & refuses to learn anything, a CON MAN & a FRAUD whose every move should be carefully overseen by his betters, Congress. His bumbling attempts to be “great” & “win”. are leading the USA down a path fraught with security danger & serious miscalculation on EVERY LEVEL...only a matter of time until his poisonous actions come home to roost in everyone’s neighborhood. DJT’s REMOVAL FROM OFFICE can’t come soon enough!
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    This is part of system of checks and balance. It was set up this way to eliminate the chance that one branch could control the government.
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