Please select your state
so that we can show you the most relevant content.
Americans for Prosperity Senior Policy Fellow Alison Acosta Winters | The Hill
As the trade talks with China continue, administration officials are reportedly pursuing legislation that would expand the president’s authority to impose tariffs. The U.S. Reciprocal Trade Act would empower the president to raise tariffs on individual products if he determines that any of our trading partners have imposed higher tariffs than we have imposed on their products.
Although the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the “Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises” and the right “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations,” Congress has delegated much of that power to the president – from negotiating free trade agreements to unilaterally imposing tariffs – over the past century.
The result is a policy that is taxing billions of dollars’ worth of imported goods without an adequate check and balance by the Congress. These tariffs hurt the American people, raising costs on basic goods, squeezing small businesses, and provoking retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports.
Tariffs also give government officials the power to pick winners and losers. Since trade laws allow for affected companies to file for exemptions, they effectively double down on a “Washington knows best” approach; unelected bureaucrats are empowered to choose who gets to avoid the tariffs.
Fortunately, there appears to be opposition to the proposal on both sides of the aisle. U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said plainly, “We ain’t gonna give him any greater authority.” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) posted on Twitter that “Congress should be reasserting its constitutional responsibility on trade, not yielding even more power to the executive branch.” Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) also tweeted about the proposal, asking “in what world would this be a good idea?”
Congress was right to pass Trade Promotion Authority, which delegated some authority to the president to expedite negotiation of trade deals and lower barriers. But this proposal – which would grant the president the ability to unilaterally regulate international trade and impose taxes on the American people – simply goes too far.
We call on our lawmakers to ensure that that doesn’t happen.
Click here to read the full op-ed.
For further information or to set up an interview, please send an email to GBraud@afphq.org.
Through broad-based grassroots outreach, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is driving long-term solutions to the country’s biggest problems. AFP activists engage friends and neighbors on key issues and encourage them to take an active role in building a culture of mutual benefit, where people succeed by helping one another. AFP recruits and unites activists in 35 states behind a common goal of advancing policies that will help people improve their lives. For more information, visit www.americansforprosperity.org
Receive email alerts to learn how to get involved