Lobbying groups ask Congress for help on Trump tariffs

Lobbying groups ask Congress for help on Trump tariffs
© Getty Images

Nearly two dozen lobbying groups called on Congress on Wednesday to conduct more stringent oversight of President TrumpDonald John TrumpAdvisor: Sanders could beat Trump in Texas Bloomberg rips Sanders over Castro comments What coronavirus teaches us for preventing the next big bio threat MORE’s tariffs, saying their industries have been adversely impacted by White House trade policies.

The groups, which include auto, retail, agro-food and manufacturing associations, joined forces to create the Tariff Reform Coalition with the aim of helping craft legislation to boost Congress’s power to review Trump’s use of tariff authority. 


“Not since the 1930s has our country relied so heavily on tariffs in an attempt to pick winners in the U.S. market while overlooking the broader consequences for other industries and our economy as a whole,” said Rufus Yerxa, the president of the National Foreign Trade Council, which joined the coalition.

“The Constitution explicitly gives Congress the power to regulate commerce. We believe it is time for Congress to reassert its authority to ensure that tariffs are only used in limited circumstances and only where there is broad consensus between the two branches that such exceptional action is in our overall national interest.”

The 23 groups underscored their concerns in a letter to Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyMcSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign Ernst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case MORE (R-Iowa) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill McSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign Graham: Trump has 'all the legal authority in the world' to pardon Stone MORE (D-Ore.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and their House counterparts Reps. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealWyden, Mnuchin clash over Trump tax returns, Hunter Biden probe Overnight Health Care: House panel advances legislation on surprise medical bills | Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Trump abortion coverage rule | CDC identifies 13th US patient with coronavirus White House warns of raising health costs in debate over surprise medical bills MORE (D-Mass.) and Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyDemocrats, GOP spar over Treasury rules on Trump tax law Ex-HHS chief threatens to vote 'no' on surprise medical billing measure Bipartisan Ways and Means leaders unveil measure to stop surprise medical bills MORE (R-Texas). 

“Whatever the justification for Presidential action to address particular problems, it is critical to weigh the downside effects on American manufacturers, farmers and ranchers, exporters and consumers. It is clear that many of the Administration’s tariff actions over the past two years have had significant collateral effects on domestic prices and have led to extensive retaliation against our exports,” the groups wrote.

“Given the emergence of tariffs as the single most significant mechanism for restructuring U.S. trade relations and impacting domestic production, we urge both Committees to consider a robust congressional review of this policy shift,” they added. “We believe Congress should strongly consider revisions designed to clarify the circumstances in which Executive action is justified under these statutes and to introduce appropriate Congressional review prior to implementation of new tariffs.” 

The letter comes as Trump, who has dubbed himself “Tariff Man,” wages a bitter trade war with China, with each side slapping billions of dollars of tit-for-tat tariffs on each other. The White House has maintained that tariffs are paid by China, but bipartisan members of Congress have warned that they amount to an additional tax on manufacturers and consumers. 

The president has also threatened to slap tariffs on automotive imports from Europe and Japan.