Levin Floor Statement on Bipartisan Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Legislation

Apr 27, 2016 Issues: Trade

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of H.R. 4923 – a bipartisan bill that would create an open and transparent process for the House to consider future Miscellaneous Tariff Bills (MTBs):

(Remarks as delivered)

“Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to join with the Chairman today.

“It’s been nearly six years since Congress last passed a Miscellaneous Tariff Bill. We’re just now establishing a process to consider a future MTB bill – which would not happen until the end of 2017.

“This years-long delay has hurt U.S. manufacturers and our manufacturing competiveness. It is long past time for this House to finally take action and move forward.

“MTB legislation boils down to one thing: supporting and growing manufacturing jobs right here in America. And very importantly, these jobs do not come at the expense of others.

“In 2010, the bipartisan, thorough, and transparent process we established to consider MTB bills worked effectively – it included direct input from the public, the Administration, and the International Trade Commission. The Committee then posted all of these comments, from the public and the Administration, on a publicly available website.

“And perhaps most importantly, that input was crucial in making sure that domestic production was not competing with imported products in the bill.

“At that time, Republican leaders in Congress publicly objected to the MTB bill, conflating it with earmarks.

“But when Democrats brought the bill to the floor in 2010, Republicans bucked their leadership and supported the bill because of its importance to U.S. manufacturers and American jobs. It ultimately passed the House 378 to 43.

“Unfortunately, as the Republicans became the majority, action on MTB was frozen. For years, the result was injury to domestic manufacturing and the jobs it supports throughout our country.

“This bill shifts the responsibility to formally propose to ITC. I support the bill before us today because it retains all of the uniquely strong provisions on transparency developed in 2010, ensuring that all potential MTBs are thoroughly vetted. It provides a chance for valuable input from a variety of stakeholders.

“This input is the key to ensuring that MTB bills do not undermine domestic production or jobs. The process makes sure that the benefits provided by the bill support and create American jobs without hurting our domestic manufacturers.

“Additionally, this bill allows a Member of Congress to object to and essentially remove an individual MTB from the final legislative package.

“It has been a frustrating six years since this Congress passed an MTB. And it has been even more frustrating for manufacturers across the country. But I believe we’ve reached a sufficient path forward that will ultimately be beneficial for American manufacturers and American workers. It’s more than overdue.

“I strongly support this bill.”