On Wednesday, companion bills were reintroduced in the Senate and House to subject future Section 232 executive actions to final evaluation by Congress, which could pass a disapproval resolution to nullify any Section 232 remedies after they are ordered. The legislation, titled the Trade Security Act, was originally introduced in August but failed to gain traction last Congress.
Other companion bills introduced last week by Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Mark Warner, D-Va., alongside Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Ron Kind, D-Wis., would implement a stricter congressional vetting process for Section 232 actions and would allow Congress to overturn existing Section 232 duties on steel and aluminum.
That bill, the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019, wouldn’t require Congress to affirmatively nullify Section 232 tariffs, but would rather give Congress 60 days to pass an approval resolution for the tariffs or else proposed trade actions wouldn’t take effect, according to a summary of the legislation released by Toomey’s office.
The legislation would require Congress to pass an approval resolution within 75 days of the bill’s enactment or else Section 232 tariffs and quotas imposed within the last four years would be repealed.
Similar to the more recently introduced legislation, the Trade Security Act, the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act would transfer Section 232 investigative authority from the Commerce Department to the Defense Department and would provide for Commerce to determine appropriate remedies if DoD determines imports threaten U.S. national security, according to the bill summary.
Either bill likely would face a veto threat by President Donald Trump, whose White House drafted a bill introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., on Jan. 24, that would allow the president to raise tariffs on imports from countries that impose higher tariffs on the same or similar goods from the U.S.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, last month told reporters that he would like the committee to consider legislation to check executive Section 232 authorities, starting with the general concept of the Trade Security Act, and that the committee should “work from that prospect.”