U.S. Reps. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Fred Upton (R-MI) on Wednesday introduced legislation (H.R. 1710) that would preclude President Trump from imposing Section 232 tariffs on imported automobiles and automotive parts until the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) conducts “a study of the economic well-being, health, and vitality of the United States auto-motive industry.” The bill seeks to require the USITC to analyze a number of specific factors including the “effect an increase in automotive manufacturing costs would have on jobs in the United States.” The bill would also require the USITC to submit a report of its findings to the White House and Congress along with any “appropriate” recommendations.
The proposed legislation mirrors the “Automotive Jobs Act of 2019” that was introduced in the U.S. Senate (S. 121) in January by Sens. Doug Jones (D-AL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Sen. Jones introduced the first iteration of the “Automotive Jobs Act” in the Senate in July, 2018 (S. 3266).
Last month, the Department of Commerce concluded its report on the national security impact of imported cars, which has not yet been made public. The White House has 90 days from the submission of the Department’s report to decide whether to act on the recommendation in the report. The President’s decision is currently due by May 18, 2019. Under the proposed legislation, the report from the Department of Commerce would be deemed as not submitted until the USITC’s report is submitted to the President and Congress and the report is reviewed by the President.
Presently there is no indication of immediate action on either bill, which would need to be supported by two-thirds of Congress to override a Presidential veto.