Manufacturers press for tariff bill

U.S. manufacturers urged lawmakers on Tuesday to move on a tariff bill that would allow them to better compete with foreign counterparts.

The National Association of Manufacturers, which joined the companies on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, says that businesses would pay $748 million more in taxes over a three-year span if the miscellaneous tariff bill isn’t passed.

The most recent tariff bill expired at the end of 2012, and progress on an extension has been bogged down by general congressional gridlock and questions over whether the tariff is an earmark. Advocates are hoping a new measure can be passed before the end of the year.

“Do we think we can get this done this year? Absolutely. Do we think there’s interest? Absolutely,” Linda Dempsey of manufacturers association told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday.

The tariff bill, which has a bipartisan history, would roll back duties on imported materials that allow manufacturers to make their products. Republicans and Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee introduced a tariff bill last year that has since stalled.

Dempsey said that manufacturers were willing to discuss potential tweaks to the tariff process to ensure getting a bill passed.

“We’re not going to be picky,” she said.