tv U.S. Senate Sens. Toomey Corker Brown on Tariff Amendment to Farm Bill CSPAN June 27, 2018 7:22pm-8:01pm EDT
>> no. i have had no conversation with the white house on this. >> what about with the democrats? >> no, you're the first ones i have had conversation with. thank you all. >> thank you so much. c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up thursday morning, pennsylvania republican congressman discusses immigration and the judiciary committee hearing on the clinton e-mail probe. and then democratic texas congressman talks about the future of u.s. immigration policy. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 eastern, thursday morning. join the discussion. >> on the senate floor today, senators toomey and corker spoke about their amendment to the farm bill that would require that before a president can impose tariffs for national
security reasons, he must have approval of congress. here's their discussion, from the senate floor. >> mr. president, i rise to address an amendment that i have worked on with my colleague senator corker from tennessee, an amendment that i hope we're going to get a vote on today because i think it is timely. it is important. and it's really a measure that would simply restore to congress a responsibility that the constitution assigns to congress. so what am i talking about? i'm talking about the amendment that we've crafted, which would simply require that before a president, this president or any other president, can invoke section 232 of our trade law, which is the provisions that grant the president special powers when the national security of america is
threatened, is at risk, gives him the power to impose tariffs, in that situation. and what this amendment would do is it would say that when a president makes that determination, that he wants to impose tariffs because it's essential for the security of our country, that he could do so as long as he has the ascent from congress, and it would require an expedited process, simple majority vote, couldn't be dragged out, couldn't be filibustered. but it would ultimately be congressional responsibility. now, why do i say that this would be restoring to congress its constitutional power? well, it's because the constitution is very unambiguous about this. article i, section 8, clause 1, states and i quote, a congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises.
goes on from there, mr. president, but duties are tariffs. i don't think anybody disputes that. so article i, section 8, clause 1, assigns that responsibility to congress. clause 3 goes on to further make it clear that this is congress's responsibility by stating and i quote the congress shall have the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations. well, the imposition of duties clearly is an exercise in regulating commerce with foreign nations. now, over time, the congress has ceded authority in this area unwisely to my view to executives. that's been going on for decades, no question about it, the executive has a lot of authority under powers that congress has delegated to the president. frankly et's part of a broader trend of congressional powers that are being delegated to the executive branch, regulators,
agencies, cabinet, and i think it's a mistake. i think this is a congressional responsibility. we taught to take that responsibility -- we ought to take that responsibility and take it seriously. why do i feel it is important in this particular case? because in my view this section 232 provision is being misused. it is meant to ensure that our defense department can procure defensive materials needed in time of war. that was the real motivation behind creating this power for the president to block foreign trade in the event that our national security depended on it. what do we have instead? we have this provision being invoked as a way to impose tariffs on some of our closest allies, closest friends, and most important trading partners. in fact, the canadians, the mexicans, the european union, over very small amounts of steel, that we import. in the case of canada, it is
really quite amazing. canada's a country, i mean do we have a closer ally than our next-door neighbor? the country that sends troops to fight alongside ours whenever we have a need to do that. a country with whom we have massimas massive amount of trade in both directions. a country with whom we have a balance of trade overall. a country where we have a surplus of steel. we're imposing taxes on americans, taxes on my constituents if they choose to buy steel from canada and we're saying that's necessary for national security purposes. of course it is not. it has nothing to do with national security. the secretary of commerce admitted as much before our committee last week when he said what it's really about is to getting the canadians to agree to the changes the administration wants to make in nafta. well, doing agree with those changes in the first place. -- well, i don't agree with those changes in the first place.
we're misusing a national security element of our law to punish american consumers of products that originate from one of the friendliest countries on the planet with respect to our country, and i think this is a problem. by the way, it is not the first time that we've had really dubious trade policy from the administration. i totally disagreed with the mexican sugar deal that was negotiated. it is a protectionist bill that treats domestic sugar growers very well, they get an artificially high price for their sugar, and all of us who are consumers of sugar pay too high a price. we had tariffs imposed on solar panels and washing machines. we now are finding that first we had tariffs on canadians, mexicans, europeans, south koreans and then there was relief but then that expired and now the tariffs are back. listen we have gone too far down the road. this has become very disruptive,
bad for our economy, bad for my constituents, and fundamentally it's a responsibility that we have. it's in the constitution. it said so. so what this amendment does is it simply says look the president can invoke 232. the president can invoke national security if he sees fit, but he has to come back to congress for an expedited up-or-down vote and frankly that's exactly what our responsibility is. this bill is relevant. the ag community is more adversely affected by the retaliation against these ill-conceived tariffs than any other sector of the economy i can think of. this is the bill that addresses the ag policy. this is the right moment to have this debate and to decide whether we want to take the responsibility of the constitution assigns to us or not. by the way, i get that not everybody agrees with what senator corker and i and others are trying to do, but i hope that everybody acknowledges that the role of the senate is to debate and vote on tough issues. that's part of what we are sent
here to do, to decide what our policy will be, and that necessarily includes having a debate and having a vote. so i think my colleague from tennessee is going to make a request that we be able to consider this amendment and vote on this. i wholeheartedly support this effort. i think it is very very important. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. >> mr. president. >> senator from tennessee. >> i want to thank my friend from pennsylvania for his comments and for his leadership on issues relative to free trade and other important issues to our nation, and i just want to reiterate for a minute before i ask for this amendment to be called up, the fact that this particular amendment, number one, is co sponsored by 14 people of various ideologies on both sides of the aisle, senator flake here on the floor as co sponsor of this amendment. it is probably one of the most supported amendment we're going to vote on as it relates to the farm bill. is the farm bill the right
place? absolutely. farmers around our country are being hurt by this administration's trade policies. more than 20 farm bills could help them. it is very important for us to address this issue now. some of my friends on the other side of the aisle, who by the way, we have many people on the other side of the aisle supporting this legislation, this amendment, some of them have said well, but we don't want to be -- we don't want to hurt our ability to impose tariffs on china. this has nothing to do with that. as the senator from pennsylvania mentioned, the president has used the section 201 of the trade act to put in place tariffs on solar panels and on washing machines. he did that in january. the additional tariffs that he's putting in place on china are under section 301. what this amendment narrowly focuses on is the abuse of authority that the administration is utilizing to put tariffs in place on canada, mexico, and many of our allies, especially in europe, and what
he's doing is citing national security. it is dubious. all of us know it has nothing whatsoever to do with national security, but the reason the president is using this is he doesn't have to prove anything to use it. under the other sections, you have to deal with the wto or the itc and you have to actually make a case for what it is you are doing. but when you use 232, no case has to be made. he can just do it. and therefore, that's the reason because of this abuse of authority, that is the reason that we believe the president ought to be free to negotiate these, sure, he is the leader of our nation, but once he completes those negotiations, if he's going to use section 232 of the trade act, we believe he should come to congress, as was laid out by the senator from pennsylvania. so with that, with that, i ask unanimous consent to set aside
the pending amendment and call up amendment 3091. >> is there objection? >> mr. president? >> senator from ohio. >> i reserve the right to object. mr. president, my colleagues raises concerns about the effect of retaliatory tariffs on our farmers and others. i couldn't agree more. but we should not pit farmers against steelworkers. only a few days after -- after trump became president elect trump my first correspondence with him was how we do trade policies in the next few years. one of the conditions, one of the admonitions if you will is you don't play off one industry against another. you don't play off agriculture against autos or steels or chemical or anybody else. it benefits all americans, and i think my colleagues agree with this, it benefits all americans if we stop china cheating, if we force them to play by the rules. i would say to my colleagues today to senator toomey and senator corker, and i understand
they have some bipartisan support on this, i'd say that probably the worst thing you do for ohio -- for america's farmers is to jeopardize passage of the farm bill today. i spoken with senator roberts about that. that's exactly what this amendment would do. the amendment would gut most importantly it would gut one of our trade enforcement tools, a tool congress passed and enhanced in the finance committee just in the last couple of years, passed to ensure we protect the industries necessary to defend our country. i know my colleague from tennessee generally opposes the president's trade agenda. i think he does that from an intellectually honest position, but that's not justification for completely undoing a decade's old statute that's one of the few tools we have to defend national security interests against distortions in the global market. the steel and aluminium tariffs the president's put in place are long overdue actions to defend against further shrinking of two sectors critical to national defense.
senator toomey certainly knows this in the western part of his state, as i know it in mine. i know my colleagues agree that steel -- excess steel production capacity in china is troubling. we're talking about a country that now has the capacity to produce half the world's steel, close to half the world's aluminium, it's affected the global market, made steel overcapacity a global problem. we know that china puts people to work because they can't afford to have hundreds -- to have tens of millions of young men unemployed in the country. they subsidize their energy, their water, their capital, and their land. they have dozens of government-owned enterprises. they want to keep their people to work. they cheat when they do. that's just very simple. we have an administration now finally willing to take action and defend our highly competitive steel industry and steelworkers. i know what a competitive steel plant looks like.
i was at arcelor in cleveland 7 miles from my house only a week ago. that's the first steel mill in the world that's been able to produce raw steel with one person hour of labor. think of that. a ton of steel produced by one person hour. that tells you how productive our plants are, but against china cheating and subsidizing near all the components, we simply can't do that. the state of tennessee perhaps has been lucky to avoid the devastation brought to steel towns like yorkville and martins ferry and warren and lorraine, all cities in ohio, up and down the river in pennsylvania, senator toomey said the same thing. all is a result of china's excess capacity. but the shuttered steel mill and thousands of steelworkers in ohio who lost their jobs are constant reminders from my state that this trade enforcement action taken by the president was long overdue.
we have to have steel and aluminium sectors in this country to defend ourselves. it is that simple. we won't have these critical sectors if our steel and aluminium producers can't keep their doors open. this section of the statute, 232, was congress's way sometime ago of acknowledging their connections between trade and national security. imports can undermine our national security. congress has recognized that for years. there should be ways for the president to take action when that's the case. the corker amendment fundamentally rejects that idea and hamstrings the president's ability to protect america's national security interests. even worse, corker amendment would immediately remove the 232 steel and aluminium tariffs including those on china. why would any colleagues vote to let china off the hook? just look at the bipartisan effort to pass the foreign investment risk review and modernization act that passed down the hall i believe with only 2 no votes. there's broad bipartisan support. also for ensuring the president
take a tough stance with zte which he has not been wild about doing, but for some reason when it comes to aluminium and steel, it is okay to let china off the hook? makes no sense. i know some of my colleagues who support this amendment will say they support the president's actions, if they were targeted just to china. they think the corker amendment is necessary because the president has applied these tariffs to our allies. but steel overcapacity is a global problem. it needs a global solution. if we don't take a more comprehensive action, china will cheat their way into those other markets. ask arcelor mittal, ask nucore, they have all seen the tricks china uses to work around our duty laws. look at the recent report on china's intellectual property theft, he found that china was stealing about 50 billion dollars of intellectual property
from the u.s. every single year, the evidence is clear, china is determined -- i understand china -- i don't even particularly fault them because they are acting in their national interests, maybe we should try to do the same thing. because china is determined to gain u.s. market share in technological advances, they will stop at nothing to get it. i agree we should work with our allies in this the administration to a degree has. they have negotiated agreements with south korea, brazil, argentina and australia, some of my colleagues are concerned rightly about canada and mexico being covered by the tariffs. i share that concern, but gutting trade enforcement is not the way to fix that. i work with the administration to reach a solution through negotiations. i encourage my colleagues to do the same. i spoke to ambassador late last night, we're in a holding pattern with nafta talks until mexico's elections in about a week. but soon after that, nafta talks will pick right up. steel aluminium tariff wills be
part of that dialogue as they should be. because canada and mexico have such close proximity to our market, they are primary targets for chinese shipment. we have to guard against that, where the section 232 tariffs won't simply be effective. in closing, before my final remarks, i'm confident in agreement with our nafta partners can be reached. i hope it is reached soon. canada, mexico, an important part of the north american steel supply chain. they are important partners in making sure our efforts to address steel overcapacity are effective. the tariffs have been effective. just yesterday republic steel announced that one of its rolling mills in lorraine, ohio, would restart in cement september. -- restart in september. the corker amendment would threaten these new jobs with other announcements of steel mills restarting in the u.s. to summarize, the corker amendment would permanently undermine a longstanding section of statute that makes sure the
u.s. has the industries necessary to defend itself. it would let bad actors like china off the hook, enable to flood our markets with unfairly traded steel. it disregards ongoing negotiations with our nafta partners. it threatens the improvements seen in our steel and aluminium industries since the tariffs were imposed. for all those reasons, mr. president, i object. >> objection is heard. senator from tennessee. >> madame president, i don't even know where to start. senator from ohio is a friend of mine. we came in together at the same time. he's written books on labor and trade, and i respect the fact that he knows a great deal about the topic. we served together on the banking committee. and i respect him. much of what he just said was focused on china. i've never heard of a trade
policy where you have a country like china who is in fact dumping steel around the world because it's in their interest. i've never heard of a trade policy where you punish your friends in order to get at someone who is doing something to you. so we're punishing canada and mexico. we're fortunate to live in the neighborhood that we live in, to have neighbors like we have. we're punishing our european allies who have been with us for centuries in order to get at china. it makes no sense. as a matter of fact, i haven't heard a person who has gone to the white house to talk about what they are putting in place, trade policy, come back over here and be able to articulate anything coherent about that policy. i haven't heard a single soul be able to explain to me why we would punish our allies in europe, our neighbors next door,
in order to get at china. 232 has nothing to do with china. that's absolutely not true. it has nothing to do with china. china's being punished by 201 and 301, and we're punishing our allies by abusing a national security section called 232. so i don't know what to say. let me just say -- let me finish one more thing before i yield. and i will gladly yield. people in our nation are being hurt today. people are being hurt. you saw the harley davidson issue where they are going to move some of the jobs overseas to avoid these tariffs. other companies are going to be doing the same. right now farmers are being hurt around our country. on july 1st, a whole other set of countermeasures is coming in from other countries. on july the 6th, there will be a whole other set of countermeasures coming in.
i just want the record to be clear, the senator from ohio, my friend won't even allow us to vo vote. if he disagrees with this policy, he could vote against it. he's not even allowing to us vote on something that could ease and stop the pain that's being inflicted on our country by a trade policy that is not coherent. it's being made up on a daily basis, that has nothing whatsoever to do with china -- with what china is doing with steel and aluminium. so i don't know what this body has become where you can't even vote on an issue that is current that is damaging farmers more than 20 farm bills could make up for. so with that i yield the floor to my friend from pennsylvania. >> i thank my colleague from tennessee. i will put aside how stunned i was to hear that my colleague from ohio suggests that maybe we want to emulate the communist
managed economy of china as a good model for economic development. that's just breathtaking to me. but i really want to stress the point that the senator from tennessee made, and that is the fact that this amendment has nothing to do with china. we could go on all day about how outrageous some chinese behavior is in the trade space, and it is true. there is really bad behavior, and by the way, we need to address that. we'd be better able to address the things like the theft of intellectual property, and technology transfer, if our allies were working with us to address that outrageous behavior. but it's harder to get your allies to work with you, when you are hitting them with tariffs and the excuse is national security. let me just put a little bit of scale to this. our colleague suggested how important it is that these industries survive. i completely agree. domestic producers produce 75% of all the steel we consume.
we import about 25% of it. how much of that comes from china? about 2% of the 25%. we don't import steel from china is the reality. so we do import a little bit of steel. the number one source is canada, who buys more steel from us than we buy from them. so that's our national security threat. that's why we need to hit my constituents with a tax when they choose to buy those kinds of steel that the canadians happen to specialize in and americans don't. this makes no sense at all. and finally my last point, so look we have sincerely held difference of opinions on this. why can't we vote? isn't that what the senate is here for? let's debate this. let's consider this and let's have the vote. i didn't think that the purpose of the senate was to avoid votes that people think are tough or challenging or that they even disagree with. i fully accept disagreement. i don't expect a unanimous
agreement on the outcome on the policy. but why in the world is this a body that can't have a debate and vote about something as timely, important, and relevant as this? >> madame president? >> senator from tennessee. >> i will be very brief. i know the senator from ohio wants to speak, and the senator from wyoming has been waiting. people in our nation are being hurt today. americans are being taxed heavily. a tariff is a tax on the american people. what the senator from ohio is doing is saying that the senate should not even vote on a measure to alleviate the pain that americans are going to feel, the jobs that are going to be lost, over the next couple of months as this trade war continues. and i'm just disappointed. i cannot believe with the zeal that we both came into the senate, 11 1/2 years ago, to
debate and deal with the big issues of our nation and to have an amendment that supported in a bipartisan way when people know when they know that the trade policy that is being put forth by this administration is being made up on a daily basis, and they know that jobs are going to be lost. farmers are already hurt. we cannot even vote on an amendment, even though we may disagree, vote on an amendment, so on this day, june the 27th, let it be known that on a bill that's very relevant, because of the pain that farmers are going through, we were kept from voting on a measure that would alleviated an incoherent policy from continuing on as it relates to trade. with that, i yield the floor. >> madame president? >> senator from ohio?
>> thank you. i appreciate senator corker's comments. i guess i appreciate senator toomey's a little less who tried to say that i was like thinking that the peoples republic of china has an economy that we should emulate, when what i actually said and i have seen him do this before, what i actually said is china's government fights for its national interests, like putting people to work and our trade policy for 25 years since nafta, since south korea, many of them pushed by presidents of my party whom i stood up for, have undermined american national security and domestic security. so i just reject that, but i appreciate senator corker's comments about voting on this. this is a major change in policy with no legislative hearings with no real discussion or debate. it is a bit rich when the majority party talks about us not lying votes when start with the supreme court nominee of three years ago and all the times we tried to do a
transportation bill, important in our banking committee senator corker as you know and you weren't really part of the obstruction, but i just find it a bit rich, but the reason is we -- senator hatch has already said he wants to do hearings to really understand what it would mean to roll back years of having these trade remedies like 232. what would it mean? we've lost 7,000 jobs in the steel industry in my state. i don't know the number in western -- not just western, western and central pennsylvania in senator toomey's state but i want to move quickly on having these real discussions and real debates. having a vote on a bill that nobody really understands except it's sort of reacting to the president's sometimes bungled positions and attempts on trade enforcement, and i share that frustration. i'm his ally on this, but i've been frustrated too at the back and forth, and which countries are in and which countries are out, but fundamentally tariffs are a temporary tool. they are not a trade policy, used by the president in this
case to force a discussion and a real policy about what to do with china excess capacity, where half the world steel can be made in one country, and they put people to work in order -- and undermine international trade laws by doing it, and people in my state pay the prices they have all over the country. >> madame president, 60 more seconds? >> senator from tennessee >> this amendment has nothing to do with china. this amendment deals with canada, mexico, our european allies, and other countries. and i guess when we go back home this week, and we talk to our constituents, and they talk with us -- i had a member of the uaw write a letter to the editor thanking me for these efforts that are underway to stop these tariffs that are killing the
automobile industry that -- or will kill the automobile industry that exists in ohio and tennessee, but i guess what i will tell him is well, we couldn't vote on a simple measure that would allow congress to vote up or down on tariffs that the president negotiates, but what we're going to do, while you lose your jobs, while you pay 25% more for steel and aluminium, while these industries go away, i will tell them well, we're going to have hearings. with that i yield the floor. >> this past week with the help of our cable partners gci, the c-span bus traveled to alaska. it's part of our 50 capitals tour, the bus continues the trip across alaska to our next stop in fairbanks. >> c-span programming is valuable for alaskans. for most of us it is the only way to get to see our delegation hard at work in washington. gci is proud to carry c-span for a number of reasons especially
for their emphasis on education. from lessons plans and handouts to timely teachable videos and educator conferences, the c-span classroom program offers so many resources to teachers and adds a great deal of value to today's classrooms. >> thank you for being part of it, bringing your awesome bus to fairbanks, the tour of that was just incredible. i heard stories of driving up from the folks who brought the bus up here, and the things they saw on the way coming to alaska, it was a nice trip from what i heard. and i understand, i've driven it a few times myself. it is an awesome trip. we're so glad that your bus came here and using it as a tool to bring fairbanks nationwide. >> what i appreciate about c-span is it's 40 years old, much older than me. but what i appreciate -- that's a joke by the way. [laughter] >> you can laugh. what i appreciate about c-span is it is not partisan. you watch the sparring that takes place. you watch your delegations talk
back and forth. it's extremely informative and very educational. one of the best things on the bus, and i'm a tech geek, so i hope they take me with them on their tour, because i would just spend hours on that bus, but if you go in and you look at the, you know, the video screens, they are interactive, people can learn and kids can learn about government. i mean, government doesn't have to be a bad word. >> be sure to join us july 21st and 22nd when we will feature our visit to alaska. watch alaska weekend on c-span, c-span.org, or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> today treasury secretary steven mnuchin talked to reporters at the white house about new international trade investment controls being considered by the trump administration. he also talked about the economic growth numbers in the coming weeks.
>> we're going to take a few questions. >> good morning, mr. secretary. >> how are you? >> hi. how are you? >> can you lay out for us why the decision was eventually made not to specifically tailor towards china and rather broaden this out through the general process? >> so i would just say we've had a very careful process starting with the ambassador and looking at critical technologies and looking at the issues at 301. simultaneously, we've been working with congress for a very long period of time on this legislation. i think as you know, i chair the committee on foreign investigationment in the united states -- foreign investment in the united states. we think it give us the tools to protect many different things, but we have been working with congress to expand those tools. yesterday the house passed the legislation 400-2 if that's not overwhelming bipartisan support, i don't know what it is. i guess a few people didn't show up. but i mean we're very very supportive of the legislation.
and the economic team recommended to the president when this legislation passes, we will have the necessary tools to protect technology, whether that's china or anybody else. >> secretary mnuchin, what do you attribute to the markets taking a big dip on monday? is the fact that harley davidson announced that it is -- [inaudible]. >> one, i don't speculate on the markets. >> does it concern you? >> it doesn't concern me. i don't speculate on the markets. the markets move every day. i would just comment that we are in the six-month anniversary of the tax cut act. i expect a very large gdp number this quarter. i'm giving you the disclaimer. i have no idea what it is. so i have no advance notice. the atlanta fed is saying it could be as high as 4.7. but a year ago people were talking about we would never have gdp higher than 2%. the president's economic plans are working. they have always been focused on taxes, regulatory relief, and
trade. trade is nothing new. and we are very pleased with the economic -- >> yet the tax cuts weren't big enough to prevent harley davidson from making a decision -- >> i just made some comments on harley davidson. i don't want to spend too much time on harley. they are one company. on the one hand i respect their decision, on the other hand almost every meeting i have been in the president has been talking about every country should cut tariffs on motorcycles. he's been a big fan of theirs. >> the statement from president, talking about the commerce department po ternlly putting on export controls -- potentially export controls. how would that work? >> sure, again, the issues we have identified which are technology transfer broadly, that one component of it are investments. another component is joint ventures, so the new legislation will allow us to deal with someone setting up a joint venture instead of going through an acquisition. and we have also asked the commerce secretary to look at export controls.
so we just want to make sure that people can't get around the mechanism by transferring the technology or joint ventures instead of buying companies. >> assuming the legislation passes, how long will it take your department to sort of implement those changes? >> we will have a pilot program up and running quickly that will address critical technology as it relates to the overall legislation, it is dependent upon us getting more resources and funding for that, but the regulations and the pilot program will come out -- >> do you have a specific time line? >> i'm not going to give you a specific time line. >> last question, please? >> should nato allies be concerned that there seems to be some plans in place for president trump to meet with -- [inaudible]. >> i don't think so at all. the president has said very clearly that there are areas of the world that we need to work with russia on, whether it's syria, whether it's iran, whether it's north korea, these are very important security
issues around the world, and if there are areas that make sense for to us work with russia, we're going to do that, and again, it makes sense to have communication. there's no commitments or anything else. thank you, everybody. thank you very much. we have no plans on lifting any sanctions at the moment. >> thank you, everybody. thank you. >> justice anthony kennedy's retirement brings a significant change to the supreme court. follow the story on c-span. from president trump nominating a replacement, the senate confirmation hearings, to the swearing-in, all on c-span. c-span.org, or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> friday a conversation with the chief justice of the united states, john roberts, from the