Several U.S. senators are working on a bill that would allow Congress to veto tariffs that are assessed on goods said to harm national security. Two bills were introduced by Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rob Portman of Ohio, both Republicans on the Finance Committee, but there are differences between the two bills. At a trade association meeting on June 13th, Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, and Chris Coons, D-Delaware, discussed the bills and are hopeful that there will be a hearing to reconcile the differences. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, will not allow the bills to be introduced until there is agreement. It’s also unlikely that the President will sign a bill that limits his authority to impose tariffs.
One senator said that calling auto imports ‘a threat to national security’ is ridiculous. Senators from both parties feel that the issues with China’s handling of intellectual property and forced technology transfer, as well as their poor record of compliance with the World Trade Organization, are shared by politicians on both sides of the aisle. Some officials believe that China believes it can wait until Trump is no longer president and negotiate better terms. However, this is not just a Republican issue and there is no guarantee that tariffs will go away under a different administration.