Global Trade Accountability Act
Monday, 27 February 2017
by Staff, Spaulding Law
One of the focuses for this project is reining in control of the implementation of taxes and tariffs. Article 1 of the US Constitution states that “Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises” and “to regulate commerce with foreign nations.” The House specifically is responsible for originating all bills for raising revenue. The purpose for this is to make sure the people are not taxed without representation. However, beginning in 1917, presidents were given the power to impose tariffs in times of war through the Trading with the Enemy Act. Tariffs raise revenue for the nation, but it comes at the cost of taxes paid on imports or exports. This power has since been broadly used and the legislative branch is concerned that there is nothing in place to restrain these actions.
Analogous to the proposed Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act that would require Congressional approval for any major ($100 million or more) regulation (twice passed in the House and rejected both times by a Democrat controlled Senate), Senator Lee has proposed the Global Trade Accountability Act. This Act would require a joint resolution approved by both the House and the Senate before the President could initiate any “unilateral trade action”. The President would need to submit information regarding an analysis of whether the action is in the national economic interest of the U.S., a list of articles that will be affected by the action, and an analysis noting potential retaliation from trading partners affected by the action. The Act does allow for “national emergency” situations, but the President would have to obtain approval from both houses of Congress after 90 days. The idea is that the extra analysis will ensure accountability and discourage unilateral action by the executive branch.
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