NRF Supports Bill To Strengthen Congressional Authority Over Tariffs

The National Retail Federation is backing a bill that would strengthen congressional authority over tariff increases such as those imposed by the Trump administration during the past year.

The Reclaiming Congressional Trade Authority Act was introduced by Representative Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) a member of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Trade Subcommittee. The measure would limit any new or additional tariffs imposed on national security grounds— including those under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act or the Trading with the Enemy Act— to 120 days unless approved by Congress. Section 232 was the grounds for tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed last year.

“We agree with the need to deliver fair and balanced trade deals, but taxing Americans isn’t the answer— especially without a single vote from Congress,” said David French, svp/government relations with the NRF. “At a time when American businesses and consumers are facing unprecedented tariffs imposed unilaterally, it’s time to reexamine the appropriate balance on trade policy between Congress and the executive branch.”

The measure would increase and formalize the role of Congress in non-national security tariffs, including those under Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974, the law under which recent tariffs on goods from China have been imposed. The administration would be required to provide Congress with goals and strategy behind proposed tariff actions, and Congress would be able to block the tariffs through a joint resolution of disapproval, subject to a presidential veto.

The bill would also require the administration to provide Congress with more information on both national security and non-national security tariffs. The new measure is a companion bill to legislation introduced in March by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA).