Gallagher Introduces the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019

January 30, 2019
Press Release
Backed by Leaders in Wisconsin’s Business & Ag Community

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Mike Gallagher (WI-8) introduced the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019, legislation to require the president to submit to Congress any proposal to adjust imports in the interest of national security under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. A companion bill was also introduced in the Senate.

Under the new bill, Members of Congress have a 60-day period following submission to review the president’s proposal. A joint resolution to approve the proposal would qualify for expedited consideration in both chambers. The requirement would apply to all future Section 232 actions, in addition to those taken within the last four years. The bill would restore the national security intent behind Section 232 by transferring national security investigatory authority from the Department of Commerce to the Department of the Defense. Click here for a copy of the legislation.  

Rep. Gallagher released the following statement after introducing the bill:

“When it comes to trade, Congress has consistently surrendered its Constitutional authorities to the executive branch. This bill reverses that trend, allowing for trade interventions when our national security is at stake and giving the Defense Department a greater role in that process. My bill also safeguards the public from executive overreach and from protectionist policies that hurt Wisconsin families, manufacturers and farmers.”

Statements of support from Wisconsin stakeholders:

John Jacobs IV, Green Valley Dairy: “We applaud Congressman Gallagher for leading this initiative and recognizing these tariffs for what they are, a tax on the American consumer. As a national security expert, he understands the value of Sec. 232 when used appropriately. We have seen a 14% increase in steel costs to our business since the tariffs were enacted. More importantly, the reciprocal tariffs on Agricultural commodities have impacted us even greater. Allowing agriculture to do business in an open market is what we need. Not tariffs and bailouts.”

Kurt Voss, CEO, AmeriLux International:I agree with the policy of fighting unfair trade practices, but I don’t agree with how the recent tariffs were implemented. These tariffs were intended to punish other countries taking advantage of us, but they hit American businesses. Companies like mine are the ones paying the tariffs. They hit us on orders placed well before the tariffs were announced! As a deliberative body, Congress argues about what should happen which gives industry time to react. This is why Congress should be the branch of government approving tariffs as the Constitution says.”  

Bill Berrien, CEO, Pindel Global Precision: "The Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019 provides a very necessary update to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. It restores Congress' Article I prerogative for trade and tariffs and realigns the national security review with the Department of Defense where it belongs. I applaud this bipartisan initiative and Reps. Gallagher's and Kind's leadership in restoring a necessary separation and balance of Constitutional powers. And, as a precision machined parts manufacturer in Wisconsin, I look forward to Congress' review and, ideally, overturning of the Section 232 tariffs which are undermining the global competitiveness of our country's industry."

Tim Gilberston, Founder & COO, Séura: “This new bill will allow Congress to impose, or not impose, tariffs that represent the needs of the businesses and manufacturers they represent. The current tariffs on steel and aluminum are having severe repercussions on Wisconsin businesses, which is why Congressman Gallagher’s legislation is so important.”

Terry McGowan, President and Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 139: “Construction costs keep going up with no end in sight due to the tariffs and it’s hurting construction contractors, manufacturers and our workers. Costs for projects have already increased about 10% and early economic estimates are that nearly 30,000 jobs will be lost. And we’re only just beginning to see the impacts.”

Jeff Knaus, Business Manager & Financial Secretary-Treasurer, UA 400: “Our industry has been hit hard by tariffs on products which have nothing to do with national security. With the Department of Defense determining national security implications rather than Commerce, we can be sure that future tariffs would target real national security threats - not local plumbers, steamfitters, and pipe fabricators.”

John Panetti, President & Owner, Team Industries, Inc., “Redirecting the approval authority of Section 232 from the executive branch back to Congress is good legislative policy. We’re grateful for Congressman Gallagher’s leadership in the House on this legislation.”

Jack Tuttle, CEO, Englewood Marketing Group and Nostalgia Products, Our business like many others has been hit hard by heavy-handed tariffs that came down without warning. Both Section 232 and Section 301 have been bad for business and their exclusion processes are opaque and arbitrary. We commend the Congressman for his efforts to check the arbitrary imposition of additional tariffs and to create transparent and efficient exclusion processes for American companies.”

Rick Esenberg, President and General Counsel, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty: “For too long, our representatives have forgotten that our Constitution's separation of powers is not some technicality to be abused for short term gain, but an important protection for liberty. No matter how you feel about tariffs, the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act is an important step towards Congress reclaiming its Article I responsibilities when it comes to international trade.”

National groups that support the bill:

American Apparel & Footwear Association

American Beverage Association

American Chemistry Council

American Commitment

American Exploration & Production Council

American International Automobile Dealers Association

Americans for Prosperity

Americans for Tax Reform

Associated Equipment Distributors

Association for Print Technologies

Association of Equipment Manufacturers

Association of Global Automakers

Auto Care Association

Beer Institute

Campaign for Liberty

Can Manufacturers Institute

Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Club for Growth

Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users

Competitive Enterprise Institute                                 

Digital Liberty

Farmers for Free Trade

Flexible Packaging Association

Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce

Grocery Manufacturers Association

Here for America

Heritage Action for America

Industrial Fasteners Institute

LNG Allies

Midwest Food Products Association

Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association

National Confectioners Association

National Foreign Trade Council

National Marine Manufacturers Association

National Retail Federation

National Taxpayers Union

National Tooling and Machining Association

Niskanen Center

North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers                              

North American Die Casting Association

Pet Food Institute

Precious Metals Association of North America

Precision Machined Products Association

Precision Metalforming Association

Printing Industries of America

R Street Institute

Secure America’s Future Economy

Specialty Equipment Market Association

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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