US Chamber key-votes tariff relief bill

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined manufacturers on Tuesday in pressing House lawmakers to throw their support behind a tariff relief bill.

The Chamber and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) each issued key-vote alerts for a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) that is scheduled for House consideration on Wednesday. A key vote is used by interest groups to grade how lawmakers vote on legislation important to their particular agenda.

{mosads}The Chamber called on Congress to move quickly on the long-delayed bill.

Bruce Josten, the Chamber’s executive vice president for government affairs, said the “higher costs limit the ability of companies to expand production, hire additional workers, or invest in new cost-saving equipment.”

“Given its importance for preserving American jobs, we hope this initiative to establish a new MTB process will advance swiftly,” Josten said.

The bipartisan legislation would overhaul the process for reducing or eliminating tariffs on imported inputs and products not available domestically.

“MTBs play a critical role in the operations of domestic manufacturers as they correct, on a temporary basis, distortions in the U.S. tariff code by eliminating duties on imported products for which there is no or insufficient domestic production and availability,” wrote Aric Newhouse, senior vice president of policy and government relations for the NAM, in the letter to the House.

“Such distortions undermine the competitiveness of manufacturers in the United States by imposing unnecessary costs and, in some cases, imposing a higher cost on manufacturers’ inputs than the competing foreign imported product,” Newhouse wrote.

The NAM and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are two business groups that recently ramped up their lobbying efforts with the introduction of bipartisan bills in the House and the Senate.

The NAM has estimated that their businesses have faced an annual $748 million tax increase on their inputs and that the U.S. economy has lost $1.875 billion.

The last measure passed in 2010 expired at the end of 2012 and got mired in a congressional earmark ban.

The measure, which will be considered under suspension of the rules, is expected to have the two-thirds majority needed to pass and move to the Senate for consideration by the Finance Committee.

But two conservative groups — the Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America — have criticized the tariff reform bill and are urging lawmakers to focus on eliminating all the tariffs instead of requiring firms to apply for specific waivers.

On Monday, David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth and Michael Needham, chief executive officer of Heritage Action, wrote a joint op-ed in the National Review calling on bigger action on tax reform.

“The House should be bold — use MTB reform to start permanently eliminating tariffs altogether,” McIntosh and Needham wrote.

The groups aren’t expected to issue key-vote alerts on the measure. 

Tags National Association of Manufacturers Tariff U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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