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Republicans, Don’t Let Trump Bully You on Tariffs

June 7, 2018 in Economics

By Daniel J. Ikenson

Daniel J. Ikenson

For several months, President Trump has been vandalizing the
global economy and subverting the rules of international trade with
his wrecking ball of tariff indiscretions. Finally, someone in
Congress is doing something to stop this menace. Senator Bob
Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, introduced legislation on
Wednesday that takes back some of the authority President Trump has
been abusing under the guise of protecting national security.

Mr. Corker, who is retiring, attracted six Republican
co-sponsors for the bill, which would amend the Trade Expansion Act
of 1962 to require the president to get approval from Congress for
any tariffs proposed on national security grounds. But the Senate
majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said he would not allow the
legislation to come to the floor as a stand-alone bill. House
Speaker Paul Ryan seems similarly uninterested in a bill likely to
be vetoed by Mr. Trump. “You would have to pass a law that he
would want to sign into law,” Mr. Ryan said. “You can
do the math on that.”

For several months,
President Trump has been vandalizing the global economy and
subverting the rules of international trade with his wrecking ball
of tariff indiscretions. Finally, someone in Congress is doing
something to stop this menace.

Why don’t the president’s trade transgressions
elicit meaningful resistance from party leadership? His trade views
are disdainful of freedom and informed by economic fallacies, yet
Republican leaders have watched quietly from the sidelines as Mr.
Trump misappropriates his authorities to disrupt global supply
chains, inflict pain on American trade partners, generate enormous
amounts of domestic collateral damage and make the United States an
international scofflaw.

The United States Constitution vests authority in Congress to
collect duties and to “regulate commerce with foreign
nations.” But over the course of the 20th century, Congress
delegated some of its authority to the president. In most cases,
the statutes giving the executive branch the authority to raise
tariffs require that certain conditions be met and that any actions
taken be subject to limitations, as well as judicial review.

President Trump has found a way to weaponize these statutes to
advance his “America First” agenda. Since taking
office, he has initiated six investigations under three highly
contentious laws. Five of those investigations — on steel,
aluminum, washing machines, solar panel components and Chinese
technology products — have led to the president imposing or
announcing tariffs on imports of more than 1,500 products valued at
about $100 billion. A new investigation of whether imports of
automobiles and parts constitute a national security threat could
raise the value of sanctioned imports to $400 billion. Factoring in
the likelihood of retaliation against American exporters, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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