WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) announced his support for bipartisan legislation to require congressional approval of tariffs designated under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which grants the President the power to impose tariffs or quotas as needed based on interests of national security. The requirement would apply to all Section 232 actions moving forward, as well as those taken within the past two years – including the recently announced steel and aluminum tariffs that affect many U.S. partners and allies.
“The argument that imposing these tariffs on key U.S. allies will keep Americans safe goes well beyond the intent of this law,” said Senator King. “The stretching of the ‘national security’ argument to impose trade penalties is simply misguided, and Maine businesses who rely on trade with our Canadian neighbors or have worked hard to develop international markets for their products will suffer as a result. Congress should reclaim its role in the process of creating trade policy – one which it abdicated far too easily – and provide an important check on executive power in this area.”
This legislation would require the president to submit to Congress any proposal to adjust imports in the interest of national security under Section 232. For a 60-day period following submission, legislation to approve the proposal will qualify for expedited consideration, guaranteeing the opportunity for debate and a vote. In addition to Senator King, the bill’s cosponsors include Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jeff Flake (R-Ari.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H).
Senator King has heard serious concerns about the economic costs of the Administration’s tariffs, as well as retaliatory tariffs, from a number of Maine industries, and has pushed for a more strategic approach to our trade policy. Last week he met with members of the lobster industry in Stonington who expressed fears regarding the new tariffs facing lobster exports to China.