Young cosponsors bipartisan trade security reform measure

U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) is an original cosponsor of bipartisan legislation that would put the U.S.  Department of Defense (DOD) in charge of determining if new Section 232 tariffs pose a national security threat.

Currently, the U.S. Commerce Department justifies the national security basis for such tariffs.

Sen. Young on Feb. 6 introduced the Trade Security Act of 2019, S. 365, which would reform Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to require the DOD Secretary to initiate investigations and to provide for congressional disapproval of certain actions, according to the congressional record summary of the bill. 

S. 365 is sponsored by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). Among the members joining Sen. Young as original cosponsors are U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Doug Jones (D-AL).

Sen. Young said S. 365 would better align Section 232 with its original intent as a trade remedy tool for the president and Congress to respond to national security threats and would increase congressional oversight of the process.   

“Indiana is the most manufacturing intensive state in the country and Hoosiers continually express their desire for Congress to exert its constitutional role in the 232 process, which has the ability to detrimentally impact Hoosier farmers and manufacturers if wrongly utilized,” Sen. Young said earlier this month. “I’ll continue working with Senator Portman and the Finance Committee to ensure Hoosiers have a seat at the table for future trade discussions.”

If enacted, S. 365 would expand the use of the disapproval resolution process for all products. This remedy currently is available only for Section 232 actions for oil and petroleum products, according to the text of the bill.

S. 365 also would split the Section 232 process into an investigation phase led by DOD and a remedy phase overseen by the U.S. Commerce Department, according to the summary.

Under such a process, DOD would assess a potential threat posed by certain imports and issue a report to the president, the summary says. If the president wanted to take action against this threat, then, in consultation with Congress, the president would direct the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, the U.S. Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Trade Representative to recommend a response to that threat before deciding how to proceed, according to the bill.

The same-named H.R. 1008, also introduced on Feb. 6 in the U.S. House of Representatives, is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), along with original cosponsors including U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Darin LaHood (R-IL).

S. 365 is under consideration by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, while H.R. 1008 is being reviewed by both the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and the U.S. House Rules Committee.