October 30, 2017

Democrats Press White House To Move More Quickly On Steel, Aluminum Investigations

As Connecting the Dots reported last month, the Trump administration will not release the results of its steel and aluminum Section 232 investigations into how imports of these metals impact national security until Congress has voted on federal tax reform.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reacted to that news last week by saying that he would stall progress on President Donald Trump’s trade nominees at least until the results of the steel investigation are made public.

Additionally, in a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross last week, nine U.S. senators, all Democrats, said they want the Trump administration to release the results of its investigations in November. Sen. Schumer, along with Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Gary Peters (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), signed the letter. The senators said they are “deeply concerned that our aluminum and steel workers are suffering due to the Administration’s inaction on the Sec. 232 investigations of steel and aluminum imports.” They argued “concerns surrounding tax reform should not weigh on this important goal” since “the two policy goals are not linked to one another.”

The group urged the administration to conclude its investigations before President Trump’s trip to Asia, set for Nov. 3 to 14, because the trip, which includes a stop in China, provides “opportunities for securing meaningful concessions from China and other countries to reduce their excess steel and aluminum capacity.”

In their letter, the senators also discussed the impact that the administration’s delay has had on imports of steel and aluminum into the United States. Last week Bloomberg reported that steel imports have surged since the White House announced its Section 232 investigation, rising 24 percent in 2017—the fastest rate in several years.