Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Message to House: Pass the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill


The National Association of Manufacturers has sent a
Key Vote letter to House members urging a yes vote on H.R. 4380, the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill. Excerpt:

The MTB is one of the most important short-term actions Congress can take to preserve and expand good American jobs, cut the costs of doing business in the United States and boost American manufacturing exports. U.S. manufacturers large and small use the MTB’s tariff suspension provisions to obtain raw materials, proprietary inputs and other products that are not available in our nation.

Without the MTB, the cost of these companies’ products will inevitably increase, forcing them to pass higher costs on to consumers and making their products less competitive. These higher costs translate into lost jobs for American workers.

The MTB process is wholly transparent and open to the public. Each proposed duty suspension is subject to a meticulous and non-partisan vetting process to ensure that no domestic producers of the affected product exist. The International Trade Commission, U.S. Commerce Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Management and Budget and the congressional committees of jurisdiction collaborate to review each proposed duty suspension.

Transparent, reviewed by the Executive Branch and Legislative Branch alike, and benefiting no one congressional district: The tariff suspensions are not earmarks under any usual understanding of the term.

The letter notes that a July 2009 study by the economist, Andrew Szamosszegi of Capital Trade, Inc. concluded that enactment of the tariff bill would increase U.S. production by $4.6 billion while supporting nearly 90,000 jobs.

Unfortunately, the bill has been placed on the House suspensions calendar, where a two-thirds vote is necessary for passage.

Fortunately, the case for the bill is so strong that that margin is attainable.

The NAM uses Key Vote letters to determine a member of Congress’ voting record on manufacturing issues.

Note: After a brief period of debate in the House this morning, the final vote on HR 4380 was postponed due to request for recorded vote. Under the suspension rules, any request for the yeas and nays results in a postponement of the final vote. Accordingly, chances are dim for the MTB to be passed in this Congress.