Congressman Jim Cooper

Representing the 5th District of Tennessee

Cooper Cosponsors Tariff Approval Bill

Jan 31, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) announced that he is cosponsoring the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019, which was introduced this week.

Under current law, the president has the authority to impose tariffs on goods that threaten national security. President Trump has invoked this Cold War-era trade statute and imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum produced by our allies. The Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act requires Congress to pre-approve tariffs impacting national security and limit eligible goods to materials used in military equipment, energy resources, and critical infrastructure.

“Presidents are sometimes tempted to declare a national security emergency when there is, in fact, no danger. This has, unfortunately, happened with trade policy,” Rep. Cooper said. “President Trump’s own Secretary of Defense, Gen. Mattis, said that Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum were not due to security concerns. I trust a Marine General like Mattis on this. The President only invoked security concerns because he didn’t want to negotiate with Congress, even a Republican Congress. But the Constitution requires negotiation.”

The bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA).

Cooper introduced a similar bipartisan bill last year to give Congress a stronger role in implementing trade policy and scrutinizing unnecessary tariffs.