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Rail News: Shippers
Retailers call for boosting congressional authority over tariffs
The National Retail Federation (NRF) yesterday endorsed a bill that would increase congressional authority over tariff hikes such as those proposed by the Trump administration over the past year.
Introduced by U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), the Reclaiming Congressional Trade Authority Act would limit any new or additional tariffs imposed on national security grounds to 120 days unless approved by Congress.
The tariffs would include those imposed under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act or the Trading with the Enemy Act. Section 232 was the grounds for tariffs imposed last year on steel and aluminum.
“We agree with the need to deliver fair and balanced trade deals, but taxing Americans isn’t the answer — especially without a single vote from Congress,” said NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French in a press release.
Murphy's bill would increase and formalize the role of Congress in non-national security tariffs, including those under Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974, the law under which recent tariffs on goods fro China would have been imposed.
Also under the bill, the administration would be required to provide Congress with goals and strategy behind any proposed tariff actions. Congress could block the tariffs through a joint resolution of disapproval, which would be subject to presidential veto.
"At a time when American businesses and consumers are facing unprecedented tariffs imposed unilaterally, it’s time to reexamine the appropriate balance on trade policy between Congress and the executive branch. This legislation represents an important step forward," said French.
Murphy's bill is a companion to legislation that U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced in March.
Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.