WASHINGTON, Oct 1 (XINHUA/APP):An influential U.S. political advocacy group on Tuesday urged Congress to restore oversight of tariff policy as adverse effects of tariffs rippled through the broader U.S. economy.
“It is critical that Congress reclaim its constitutional role in the tariff process to guard against unilateral actions that hurt the economy, and that threaten the checks and balances that define our system of government,” Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, wrote in an article published on The Hill, a U.S. political website.
Phillips noted that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley is drafting legislation designed to increase congressional accountability over tariff increases.
“This would be an important first step to rebalancing the authority over tariffs and trade barriers that Congress has ceded to the executive branch,” he said, adding any tariff imposed by a president should be approved by Congress.
Citing a study published earlier this year by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Phillips said Americans “are reeling” from the adverse effects of higher tariffs and reduced access to markets.
“The administration’s trade wars were costing our nation’s businesses and consumers $3 billion and nearly $1.5 billion in lost efficiency per month by the end of 2018,” he said.
“Moody’s Analytics estimated that the trade war with China alone has eliminated 300,000 jobs and could wipe out up to 900,000 jobs by the end of next year,” he added.
Phillips’s remarks came after the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) earlier this month announced the formation of the Tariff Reform Coalition that will work with lawmakers to ensure greater congressional oversight and review of presidential use of tariff authority.
“Not since the 1930s has our country relied so heavily on tariffs in an attempt to pick winners in the U.S. market while overlooking the broader consequences for other industries and our economy as a whole,” NFTC President Rufus Yerxa said in a statement.
“The Constitution explicitly gives Congress the power to regulate commerce. We believe it is time for Congress to reassert its authority to ensure that tariffs are only used in limited circumstances and only where there is broad consensus between the two branches that such exceptional action is in our overall national interest,” Yerxa said.