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Toomey Leading Bipartisan Amicus Brief Supporting Lawsuit Seeking Release of Commerce Department’s 232 Auto Report

March 7, 2020
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Washington, D.C. -U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has filed an amicus brief in federal district court in support of the Cause of Action Institute's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking to compel the U.S. Department of Commerce to follow federal law and release its Section 232 "national security" report on imported automobiles.

Joining Senator Toomey in submitting this amicus brief are Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). The brief is also signed by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.). Senators Toomey and Warner are the lead authors of a bipartisan bill to reform Section 232.

As part of the appropriations package that Congress approved and the president signed into law last December, the Commerce Department was required to release the Section 232 report on imported automobiles by January 19, 2020. Unfortunately, the executive branch chose to defy the statute and withhold the report, claiming executive privilege.

"The Department of Commerce is willfully violating federal law by not making public its report on the supposed threat imported automobiles pose to American security," said Senator Toomey. "Commerce has left Congress few options but to support legal action compelling the release of this report. I am disappointed it has come to this, but I am grateful for the bipartisan support this amicus brief has garnered. I especially appreciate the support of Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Wyden."

Read the amicus brief filed by Senator Toomey here.

Senator Toomey has long sought to rein in executive authority as it relates to Section 232 "national security" tariffs. In addition to insisting upon transparency in Section 232 investigations, Senators Toomey and Warner have introduced the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act (S. 287), which requires the president to secure approval from Congress before he takes trade actions (such as tariffs and quotas) under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Congress then has 60 days to review the president's proposal, which would be guaranteed expedited consideration and an up-or-down vote in the House and Senate. The bill also requires Congress to vote to approve any Section 232 actions imposed within the last four years, including the tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. In addition to Senators Toomey and Warner, the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act has been cosponsored by 18 other senators - nine Republicans, eight Democrats, and one Independent.