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 TrumpDemocrat calls on White House to withdraw ambassador to Belarus nominee TikTok collected data from mobile devices to track Android users: report Peterson wins Minnesota House primary in crucial swing district 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 GrassleyOn The Money: McConnell says it's time to restart coronavirus talks | New report finds majority of Americans support merger moratorium | Corporate bankruptcies on pace for 10-year high McConnell: Time to restart coronavirus talks GOP Finance chairman raises concerns about Trump push to make payroll-tax deferral permanent MORE (R-Iowa) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog report raises new questions for top Interior lawyer | Senate Democrats ask Trump to withdraw controversial public lands nominee | Border wall water use threatens endangered species, environmentalists say Watchdog report raises new questions for top Interior lawyer Trump signs executive orders after coronavirus relief talks falter MORE (D-Ore.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and their House counterparts Reps. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden picks Harris as running mate New Florida Biden ad accuses Trump of raiding Social Security for coronavirus relief Bowman pauses endorsement of Alex Morse after allegations of inappropriate sexual relations MORE (D-Mass.) and Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOn The Money: Five takeaways from the July jobs report Stimulus checks debate now focuses on size, eligibility Pelosi huddles with chairmen on surprise billing but deal elusive 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.