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 TrumpGiuliani says he is unaware of reported federal investigation Louisiana's Democratic governor forced into runoff Lawmakers focus their ire on NBA, not China 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 GrassleyPhRMA CEO warns Pelosi bill to lower drug prices would be 'devastating' for industry GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe On The Money: Judge tosses Trump lawsuit over NY tax return subpoena | US, Japan sign trade deals | Trump faces narrowing window for trade deals | NBA sparks anger with apology to China MORE (R-Iowa) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Bipartisan senators want federal plan for sharing more info on supply chain threats PhRMA CEO warns Pelosi bill to lower drug prices would be 'devastating' for industry MORE (D-Ore.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, and their House counterparts Reps. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealCBO: Pelosi bill to lower drug prices saves Medicare 5 billion Mexican president urges Pelosi to get USMCA trade deal approved On The Money: Judge tosses Trump lawsuit over NY tax return subpoena | US, Japan sign trade deals | Trump faces narrowing window for trade deals | NBA sparks anger with apology to China MORE (D-Mass.) and Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyCBO: Pelosi bill to lower drug prices saves Medicare 5 billion Democratic chairman proposes new fix for surprise medical bills Nancy Pelosi is ready for this fight 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.