U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., is calling for more congressional control on tariffs in response to President Donald Trump’s actions against China and Mexico.
Murphy explained to Florida Daily why she was pushing for more of a role for Congress when it comes to trade policy.
“Tariffs are a tax on American consumers,” Murphy said. “We pay that tax, and in fact, the average American family will pay close to $800 a year in basic goods based on these taxes.”
She’s filing a bill that will attempt to limit the president’s authority with tariffs. Congress ceded that authority to the president for issues of national security, starting handing over that power in 1917 and continuing with more authority in the 1970s. Murphy has zeroed in on “301 tariffs” which were authorized by Congress in 1974 to combat unfair trade practices by foreign nations
“We would like the opportunity for Congress to consider the impacts of the tariffs, and then disapprove if necessary,” she said.
Murphy is also interested in limiting steel and aluminum tariffs, better known as “section 232 tariffs.” The power on these tariffs was given by Congress to the executive branch back in the 1960s.
“Clearly, they are being used in a way that is damaging American businesses and American consumers,” Murphy said. “When the president uses tariff authority that is related to national security, 232 International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEPPA), we want to be able to within 120 days approve those tariffs so that they do not go on indefinitely without congressional approval.”
The targets of these tariffs have been Canada and China. Mexico was threatened with tariffs as well but the Trump administration delayed those indefinitely while the two countries work on immigration issues.
Asked is she supports those kind of tariffs, Murphy said, for now, she believes at least our allies like Canada should be left alone and even China can be persuaded.
“Nobody is arguing that China is not a bad actor when it comes to trade policies, but I’ve always believed that if we work together with our allies to apply pressure to China, we can get to the end goal of having them make structural changes more effectively. Instead what we have done is launch a multi-pronged trade war with our allies and our adversaries alike, and that makes us less effective at trying to achieve the goals we want,” Murphy said.
The measure is likely to gain traction in the House where Democrats have been eager to oppose Trump’s policies across the board. There is also a companion bill in the U.S. Senate filed by U.S. Tim Kaine, D- Va. With a Democrat as the main sponsor of the bill, its future is far less favorable in the Senate but multiple Republicans have been on the record opposing Trump’s trade and tariff policies.
Reach Mike Synan at firstname.lastname@example.org.