Fischer helps introduce bipartisan tariff bill
February 22, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today joined Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.) to introduce the Trade Security Act. The legislation would reform Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to better align the statute with its original intent as a trade remedy tool for the president and Congress to respond to genuine threats to national security. The bill makes common sense reforms that require the Department of Defense (DOD) to justify the national security basis for new tariffs under Section 232 and increase congressional oversight of this process.
"While I support modernizing our trade agreements, agriculture producers in Nebraska and across the country continue to face uncertainty as a result of tariffs. Agriculture is the backbone of Nebraska's economy, and we must make sure our producers and manufacturers have the market access they need to prosper. That's why I'm pleased to join my colleagues on this bipartisan legislation that maintains the administration's ability to use trade tools to protect national security while restoring Congress's oversight role. This legislation would ensure that the Department of Defense justifies the national security need for any tariffs imposed under Section 232," said Senator Fischer.
The Trade Security Act would increase the role of Congress in the Section 232 process by expanding the use of the disapproval resolution process. Currently, this remedy is only available when the Section 232 action covers oil and petroleum products. This bill would expand that process to include Section 232 actions on all products. The reformed process would only apply to future Section 232 actions.
The bill would also bifurcate the existing Section 232 process into: (1) an investigation phase, led by the Department of Defense (DOD), and (2) a remedy phase, led by the Department of Commerce. Specifically, DOD would be responsible for assessing the potential threat posed by imports of certain products and sending a report of findings to the president. If a threat is identified and the president wishes to take action, he would then direct the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with Congress, the Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Trade Representative, to develop recommendations for how to respond to that threat. After receiving the recommendations of the Secretary of Commerce, the president would decide whether to proceed.
“While I support modernizing our trade agreements, agriculture producers in Nebraska and across the country continue to face uncertainty as a result of tariffs. Agriculture is the backbone of Nebraska’s economy, and we must make sure our producers and manufacturers have the market access they need to prosper.” Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.
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