Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in the coming weeks plans to introduce a single bill to check the executive branch’s Section 232 powers, after Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., recently introduced separate pieces of legislation to rein in the tariff authority provided under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the committee announced Tuesday.
The bill will stipulate that any Section 232 restrictions imposed by the president would be limited to a defined period of time unless extended by Congress, according to the committee.
“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 announcement says. “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.”
Portman’s legislation, the Trade Security Act, introduced in February, would provide for Congress to pass a disapproval resolution to nullify Section 232 remedies after they are ordered.
“I commend Chairman Grassley for his commitment to reasserting Congress’ constitutional responsibilities over trade,” Toomey said in a statement Wednesday. “I agree with the broad objectives that Chairman Grassley has put forth, many of which I have championed over the past year alongside Senator Warner. I will continue to work with the chairman and his staff on putting together a substantive 232 reform proposal.”
Congress should reclaim some of its constitutional trade authorities that were shifted to the executive branch through the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, Grassley said in a statement.
“During the height of the Cold War, Congress delegated sweeping power to the executive branch to adjust imports on the basis of national security,” he said. “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.”