Without any debate, the Senate unanimously passed a bill to cut or eliminate tariffs on approximately 1,600 products that are produced outside of the U.S., about half of the list consisting of products made in China. This move comes after President Donald Trump has levied billions in tariffs on products coming into the U.S. from China, and threatened to levy another $500 billion’s worth under increased trading tensions. This bipartisan legislation is aimed at eliminating, lessening the blow of, or at least trying to delay the impact of the trade war on American consumers and businesses.
The “Miscellaneous Tariff Bill,” as it is being called according to Reuters, is designed to defray Trump’s use of an executive power to impose trade tariff’s on nations that are deemed to pose a threat to U.S. national security, without the approval of the house and senate. The bill, which received full bipartisan support, would also address tariffs on some products from Canada and the E.U. As Reuters reported, supporters of the bill have said it would also eliminate tariffs designed to protect U.S. industries that no longer exist. The bill has passed through the House of Representatives unanimously as well. It has been cited that there are a few things to iron out before sending the bill to Trump. However, the changes under discussion are considered minor and non-threatening to the bill advancing.
A tariff is a tax on Americans, and I don’t know of a senator that isn’t concerned about the broad use of these national security-designated tariffs. I think a jailbreak is brewing in the Senate on the need to reassert constitutional authority on trade policy. pic.twitter.com/9GdmLwwfSF
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) June 25, 2018
While the bill has enjoyed support on the hill from both parties, not everyone is enamored with it. CNN reported that Jay Timmons, President of The National Association of Manufacturers, thinks the bill is harmful to U.S. interests and intends to voice opposition to it stating, “It makes no sense because it is a direct and punishing tax on making things in America and for creating jobs in America.”
Thousands of hardworking Mainers are employed in the lobster industry, but it is under increasing pressure due to China’s tariffs and a Canada-EU trade agreement. At a recent hearing, I urged @USTradeRep Lighthizer to quickly address these issues. pic.twitter.com/Wteqsbbxzu
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) July 27, 2018
They also report that several domestic manufacturers are claiming the bill will undercut their business and potentially even put hiring on hold, such as Michael Korchmar who told CNN that this bill will change his business for what he says is the worse, as his plans to make an insulated bag have to be put on hold if it can be produced cheaper in China.
“There’s no reason to block opportunity U.S. manufacturers might have for rebuilding our manufacturing base. We’ve got a good shot – we’ve lost a good bit of time and we have to re-evaluate the market.”
Thus far, the White House has declined comment on the legislation. No speculation from informed sources on whether Trump will sign the unanimously supported bill when it reaches his desk have been reported.