Senate clears tariff relief bill for Obama's signature

Senate clears tariff relief bill for Obama's signature

The Senate cleared a long-delayed measure on Tuesday that will provide tariff relief for U.S. manufacturers while complying with the congressional ban on earmarks.

The Senate passed by unanimous consent the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), which will overhaul the process for reducing or eliminating tariffs on imported inputs and products not available or in short supply domestically, sending the measure to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals MORE (R-Utah) and panel ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senators zero in on shadowy court at center of IG report Trump administration approves Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina MORE (D-Ore.) applauded passage of the measure.

“This legislation helps American manufacturers level the playing field through tariff relief, which lowers production costs on parts that simply can’t be found here at home," Hatch said.

"While long-overdue, this legislation represents a true bipartisan, bicameral commitment to helping our economy with more jobs, bigger paychecks and a stronger American manufacturing base," he said.

Wyden called the measure critical for manufacturing, jobs and the economy.

“As I will say again and again and again, Congress needs to do everything possible to help American manufacturers be as competitive as possible in the global marketplace,” he said.  

Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, has said that the years-long delay in crafting a new bill cost U.S. jobs and hurt manufacturing competitiveness.

“Congress never should have allowed this process to lapse, and I look forward to the president signing this legislation into law so we can finally begin to provide the support our Americans manufacturers and workers deserve," Levin said. 

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Turf war derails push on surprise medical bills | Bill would tax e-cigarettes to pay for anti-vaping campaign | .5M ad blitz backs vulnerable Dems on drug prices Turf war derails bipartisan push on surprise medical bills Expiring tax breaks set off year-end scramble MORE (R-Texas) said that the measure moves manufacturers "one step closer to having the clarity, consistency and confidence" to grow their businesses and create jobs.

"Our bill also gives Americans the transparency they deserve," he said. "I urge the president to sign this important legislation into law right away."

Business groups have been urging Congress to renew the legislation since the last measure expired at the end of 2012. 

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons called passage of the bill "a major victory and proof that Senate and House leaders have listened to manufacturers’ calls for action."

"We urge the president to sign the bill quickly as it will eliminate unnecessary border taxes that have been costing manufacturers in the United States hundreds of millions of dollars and undermining their competitiveness," Timmons said.

Without a measure in place, manufacturers said that companies have faced an annual $748 million tax hike on manufacturing in the United States, representing a $1.85 billion loss to the U.S. economy.

Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said "we applaud Congress’s efforts to move bipartisan legislation that would preserve American jobs and help U.S. manufacturers and other businesses maintain their competitive edge."

The House easily passed the bill on a 415-2 vote on April 27, ahead of last week’s recess.

"Retailers applaud the Senate for joining the House of Representatives in support of legislation that will promote economic growth and save consumers money," said Hun Quach, vice president for international trade at the Retail Industry Leaders Association. "The MTB will help spur investment and new jobs here in the United States, and we urge President Obama to sign this legislation when it reaches his desk." 

This story was updated at 11:20 p.m.