Dairy Groups Back Changes To Section 232 Tariff Authority

Support for a bipartisan bill that would introduce changes to the president's authority to impose Section 232 tariffs, including greater say for Congress on such actions, was voiced by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

The groups urged Congress to pass the Trade Security Reform Act (TSRA), sponsored by Reps. Ron Kind, D-Wis., and Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Doug Jones, D-Ala.

It is similar to a competing bill, the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act, which is also backed by Kind and a separate group of lawmakers, including Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., Darin LaHood, R-Ill., and Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., and Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Mark Warner, D-Va.

TRSA would clarify how national security grounds used to justify Section 232 tariff actions are verified. Rather than the process being solely managed by the Department of Commerce as is currently the case, a national security threat would have to first be investigated and verified by the Department of Defense (DoD). If a threat is found, the president would be presented with a report detailing DoD's findings and could choose whether or not to ask Commerce to develop a recommended trade response.

The legislation would also expand Congress' authority to disapprove Section 232 actions via a joint resolution -- that power only currently exists for actions targeting oil imports. Consultations with Congress would also be required throughout the Section 232 process.

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