News

White House

Grassley to Introduce Bill to Constrain Presidential Tariff Powers

Senator Chuck Grassley (R, Iowa), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., October 2, 2018. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters )

Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) said Tuesday that he will continue to advance legislation designed to reassert congressional authority over trade policy.

Without criticizing President Trump directly, Grassley suggested during a call with reporters that legislation is necessary to reverse a decades-long slide in which Congress has allowed the executive branch to coopt its constitutional power to impose tariffs.

“It adds up to something pretty simple: Congress has delegated too much authority to the president of the United States,” Grassley said during a call with reporters.

Grassley, whose largely agricultural constituency has been particularly harmed by Trump’s trade war with China, argued that the president’s unconstrained protectionist policies are the result of Congress’s failure to assert itself.

“There’s absolutely no constitutional crisis that this president or any other president has created,” he said. “The constitutional crisis comes from the elected representatives of the people over the last 80 years making a dictator out of the presidency . . . let’s say making a kingship out of the presidency of the United States.”

Grassley explained that the legislation he plans to introduce would limit presidential authority under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which Trump used to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

In addition to his ongoing trade war with China, Trump threatened to use emergency economic powers to impose a 5 percent tariff on all Mexican imports last week in an attempt to force concessions on immigration enforcement. Free-trade advocates in the Republican caucus, boasting a veto-proof majority, vowed to block the move but were spared from making a stand after Trump rescinded the threat in light of a public commitment from Mexico to do more to address illegal immigration.

Grassley said he soon expects to reach a compromise with Republican senators Pat Toomey and Rob Portman, who have introduced competing legislation to rein in presidential tariff authority and whose support he will require in order to advance the bill against likely opposition from the White House.

“You can imagine how the president feels about tariffs,” he said. “He may not look favorably on this, so I want a very strong vote in my committee and then, in turn, a very strong vote on the floor of the Senate.”

Most Popular

Media

Martha McSally’s Blasphemy

As I note in my New York Post piece today, I don’t believe that Martha McSally, who is serving her first term in the Senate after being appointed to take John McCain’s seat, is going to be helped much by accusing CNN’s Manu Raju of being a “hack.” Attacking the press might be an effective way to excite ... Read More
Media

Martha McSally’s Blasphemy

As I note in my New York Post piece today, I don’t believe that Martha McSally, who is serving her first term in the Senate after being appointed to take John McCain’s seat, is going to be helped much by accusing CNN’s Manu Raju of being a “hack.” Attacking the press might be an effective way to excite ... Read More
Elections

Lying Liz

Ever since she began explaining how her Medicare for all plan would be funded, and how she would pass it, Elizabeth Warren has been sinking. Ahead of last week’s debate, her camp leaked a story that her friend Bernie Sanders met with her in 2018 to discuss plans for 2020, and that at this meeting, Sanders had ... Read More
Elections

Lying Liz

Ever since she began explaining how her Medicare for all plan would be funded, and how she would pass it, Elizabeth Warren has been sinking. Ahead of last week’s debate, her camp leaked a story that her friend Bernie Sanders met with her in 2018 to discuss plans for 2020, and that at this meeting, Sanders had ... Read More

People Make New Orleans

I had my first taste of southern hospitality the day I moved to New York. A young woman from New Orleans, whom I had met only briefly over Skype (she had advertised a room in the Bronx, though I preferred a room in Manhattan), had asked if anyone would be picking me up from the airport. No, I told her. I didn’t ... Read More

People Make New Orleans

I had my first taste of southern hospitality the day I moved to New York. A young woman from New Orleans, whom I had met only briefly over Skype (she had advertised a room in the Bronx, though I preferred a room in Manhattan), had asked if anyone would be picking me up from the airport. No, I told her. I didn’t ... Read More
White House

The GAO’s Report

The Government Accountability Office issued a short report yesterday concluding that the administration had broken the law in freezing aid to Ukraine last summer. A common response from the president’s defenders has been that the GAO has found such violations of the law on many occasions, and the press did not ... Read More
White House

The GAO’s Report

The Government Accountability Office issued a short report yesterday concluding that the administration had broken the law in freezing aid to Ukraine last summer. A common response from the president’s defenders has been that the GAO has found such violations of the law on many occasions, and the press did not ... Read More