Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Grassley Leading Effort to Reform 232 Tariff Process

Mar 26, 2019

WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa is leading a bipartisan effort within the Finance Committee to reform the process by which the executive branch could use national security as a basis to restrict imports under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

The legislation, which is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks, would strengthen checks-and-balances between Congress and the executive branch by imposing new consultation and reporting requirements throughout the section 232 process to keep Congress fully informed. It would also allow Congress to weigh in on any action without stripping a president of Constitutional authority as commander-in-chief. Specifically, any restrictions imposed by the president would be limited to a defined period of time unless extended by an Act of Congress.  During this time, the executive branch would be required to consult with Congress and provide reports on the achievement of any national security objectives as well as the economic impact of the president’s action, allowing Congress to act in a fully-informed manner. The bill would also require a product exclusion process that is transparent and accountable to Congress. Further bill details will be provided in the weeks to come.

“The U.S. Constitution gives Congress alone the job of regulating commerce with foreign nations,” Grassley said. “During the height of the Cold War, Congress delegated sweeping power to the executive branch to adjust imports on the basis of national security. That was understandable given the era, but the benefit of time and experience has proven our Founders right in tasking Congress with authority over tariffs. Congress should take back some of this delegation of its Constitutional authority and rebalance trade powers between the two branches in a responsible way that doesn’t impede a president’s ability to protect America’s national security. I would like to work with the Ranking Member and my colleagues to find a path forward that can receive broad, bipartisan support.”

The legislative effort is a product of extensive work over several months with colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee. Sens. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rob Portman of Ohio, members of the committee, have both recently introduced bipartisan legislation to reform Section 232. Toomey and Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Angus King of Maine, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and James Lankford of Oklahoma introduced the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act. Portman and Sens. Doug Jones of Alabama, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Alexander, Dianne Feinstein of California, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Todd Young of Indiana introduced the Trade Security Act.

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