Lobbying groups ask Congress for help on Trump tariffs

Lobbying groups ask Congress for help on Trump tariffs
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Nearly two dozen lobbying groups called on Congress on Wednesday to conduct more stringent oversight of President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' 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. 

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“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 GrassleyGrassley urges White House to help farmers in year-end tax talks The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday MORE (R-Iowa) and 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.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and their House counterparts Reps. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOvernight 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 (D-Mass.) and 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). 

“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.