Senate should stand with President Trump on Trade, defeat Corker ‘motion to instruct’ on tariffs

July 11, 2018, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging the U.S. Senate to reject a “motion to instruct” by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) that would direct conferees on H.R. 5895 to include language that repeals Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962:

“For 56 years, the President and the Department of Commerce have been authorized by Congress to conduct trade investigations and when violations of U.S. trade law such as dumping are found to endanger national security, to punish countries with appropriate tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

“In fact, the overall 1962 act that certain foolish senators now seek to dismantle authorizes the President to reduce tariffs as well as increase them. The power to ratchet tariffs up and down, authorized by Congress, gives the President the appropriate tools to negotiate solutions to trade disputes. This has little to do with restoring Article I powers to Congress. If the instructions in the motion are followed by the conferees, it would create a situation where the President could still unilaterally reduce tariffs, but not increase them, undermining the President’s leverage in trade negotiations, and giving foreign powers an advantage over the U.S.

“President Trump won the 2016 election largely on the promise to get better trade deals for the U.S., winning key Rust Belt states that Republicans had long since abandoned. Politically, this would be a foolish gambit by Senate Republicans, and a slap in the face to President Trump’s supporters who put the GOP over the top in 2016. A U.S. Steel mill in Granite City, Illinois has already been reopened creating hundreds of jobs because of the President’s announced steel and aluminum tariffs, which certain senators now seek to undo.

“The only way to get fair and reciprocal reductions of tariffs is for the President to be able to negotiate from a position of strength. Seeking to weaken the President when he is in the midst of sensitive trade negotiations — while he is overseas no less — undermines the conduct of foreign relations. We call upon Senate Democrats and Republicans to stand with the President on trade and to send a message to the trade cheaters that America will not be pushed around anymore.”

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