Lance: Congress Should Intervene on Tariffs Before Trade War
Bipartisan Coalition Seeks to Reassert Congressional Authority on Tariffs
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today announced he and a group of bipartisan lawmakers have introduced legislation requiring any tariff changes proposed by the President through Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act first be submitted to Congress for approval. The bipartisan team of U.S. Reps. Lance, Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Ron Kind (D-WI) are reasserting Congress’s Constitutional authority over trade and tariffs.
“Congress needs to step in before tariff overreach stalls our strong economy. In global trade wars, the only casualties are American jobs and American consumers. This legislation will bring a much-needed constitutional balance to our U.S. trade policies by requiring congressional approval of all tariffs designated under Section 232 to ensure proper oversight and prudence at the intersection of trade and national security,” said Lance.
Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 empowers the President to impose tariffs against those deemed a ‘national security threat’ by the Administration. Lance and his fellow lawmakers believe this power is too broad and that overreach will inevitably occur. The proposed legislation requires congressional approval of all tariffs designated under Section 232 and attempts to reclaim Congress’s authority on the issue. The U.S. House and U.S. Senate would then have a 60-day period following submission to review the President’s proposal. Any legislation to approve the proposal will qualify for expedited consideration in both chambers. The requirement would apply to all future Section 232 actions, in addition to those taken in the last two years.
Congressman Gallagher added, “Members of Congress have criticized excessive delegation to the executive branch for years, across multiple administrations. The Founders deliberately placed the duty to set trade policy with Congress, and we cannot shirk that responsibility. We owe it to our constituents to do our jobs and uphold the Constitution, which is why I urge my colleagues to support this bill and help restore that responsibility to where the Founders first placed it.”
And Congressman Ron Kind, the lead Democratic lawmaker, said, “Wisconsin farmers, workers and families rely on open markets and certainty in global trade to sell our world-renowned products abroad. Unfortunately, the administration is putting misguided policies ahead of the success of Wisconsinites, under dubious legal justification and threatening American standing abroad. Trade authorities clearly belong to Congress – as explicitly stated in the Constitution – and I strongly encourage my colleagues to step up and take their role in leveling the playing field seriously. The answers to these problems won’t come from the President or Congress alone. We need to work together to ensure Americans have an equal shot at success in the global market”
The measure is companion legislation to a measure introduced by Senator Bob Corker (TN) and Senator Pat Toomey (PA). A letter from more than 270 national, state and local U.S. business organizations sent to the Senate in support of Sen. Corker’s legislation reads: “Article I of the Constitution assigns the Congress exclusive authority to regulate foreign trade and levy taxes, including tariffs. The current circumstances highlight the need for Congress to ensure that the authority will be used, as intended by the Congress, in the overall national interest.”