Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Pascrell Files Resolution Seeking Answers on Chaotic Trump Tariffs

Jul 25, 2018
Press Release
Resolution of inquiry would obtain information on Trump’s tariffs strategy

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), the Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, announced the introduction of H. Res. 1018, a Resolution of Inquiry that would obtain for the House any documents or records shedding light on the formulation of the administration’s tariffs policies.

“For too long, our workers and businesses have suffered because of a flood of subsidized, cheap imports and because of cheating from China. So I support strong trade enforcement action against China. Tariffs can be an effective enforcement tool if they are used to accomplish clearly defined goals, and not merely fashioned as a weapon,” said Rep. Pascrell. “Everyone knows that the Trump administration’s tariff policy has been chaotic. Particularly troubling to me is that congressional Republicans have shown little interest in finding out whether there is a coherent strategy. Passing this Resolution of Inquiry can help shed light on the administration’s rationale for the scope of the tariffs put in place and what strategy, if any, the administration has in mind. The American people deserve meaningful solutions to China’s trade cheating. Responsible for overseeing trade authority, Congress needs answers too.”

Rep. Pascrell’s Resolution of Inquiry would require the Trump White House to transmit to the House of Representatives any documents or communications relating to its decision to impose “global,” rather than targeted, tariffs of 10 and 25 percent under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. It would also obtain records related to the Trump administration’s strategy for negotiations with the Chinese government to resolve the technology transfer and intellectual property problems identified in the report under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Lastly, it would obtain information regarding any plans to mitigate retaliatory tariffs.

Resolutions of Inquiry are one of the methods used by the House to obtain information from the executive branch. The House Committee on Ways and Means will have 14 legislative days from its introduction to consider the resolution. If the committee has not acted on it within that frame, either favorably or unfavorably, the resolution will be sent to the House floor for consideration.

Rep. Pascrell has also introduced two Resolutions of Inquiry seeking information on Trump’s personal and business tax returns and other financial information that has remained hidden from public scrutiny. In June 2018, Pascrell and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA-33) introduced H.Res. 928, a Resolution of Inquiry in the House Judiciary Committee directing the President and Attorney General to transmit to the House information on the President’s use of the pardon power under Article II of the Constitution.

The text of Rep. Pascrell’s tariffs Resolution of Inquiry is below:

115TH CONGRESS, 2ND SESSION

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Mr. PASCRELL submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

RESOLUTION of inquiry requesting the President to transmit to the House of Representatives certain documents in the possession of the President relating to the determination to impose certain tariffs and to the strategy of the United States with respect to China.

Resolved, That the President is requested to transmit (in a manner the President determines is appropriate to protect classified information) to the House of Representatives, not later than 14 days after the adoption of this resolution, any and all documents in draft or final form, including reports, memos, spreadsheets, and slide deck presentations, in the possession of the President that relate to—

(1) the determination of the President on March 8, 2018, to impose, pursuant to section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (19 U.S.C. 1862)—

(A) a global tariff on steel imports and aluminum imports from all countries, instead of the targeted tariffs identified as ‘‘Alternative 2 – Tariffs on a Subset of Countries’’ in the recommendations included in the January 11, 2018, report of the Department of Commerce entitled ‘‘The Effect of Imports of Steel on the National Security’’ or in the January 17, 2018, report of the Department entitled ‘‘The Effects of Imports of Aluminum on the National Security’’; or

(B) tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and of 10 percent on aluminum imports from all countries, instead of the levels of 24 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively, identified as ‘‘Alternative 1B. Global Tariff’’ in the recommendations included in the January 11, 2018, report of the Department of Commerce entitled ‘‘The Effect of Imports of Steel on the National Security’’ or in the January 17, 2018, report of the Department entitled ‘‘The Effects of Imports of Aluminum on the National Security’’;

(2) the strategy of the Administration with respect to negotiations with the Government of the People’s Republic of China to resolve the concerns of the United States regarding China’s acts, policies, and practices that are unjustifiable or that burden or restrict United States commerce, as described in the findings provided in the March 22, 2018, report completed by the Office of the United States Trade Representative entitled ‘‘Findings of the Investigation into China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974’’, including—

(A) actions the Administration took to address those concerns on a bilateral or multilateral basis before imposing the initial set of tariffs pursuant to section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2411) on July 6, 2018; and

(B) actions the Administration has taken and intends to take to address those concerns on a bilateral or multilateral basis since July 6, 2018; and

(3) any actions the Administration has considered taking to offset harm to United States exporters facing tariffs that have been or will be imposed by other countries in response to United States tariffs imposed pursuant to section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 or section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.