H.R. 4923, American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016

H.R. 4923

American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016

Committee
Ways and Means

Date
April 27, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Molly Newell

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, April 27, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4923, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 4923 was introduced on April 13, 2016, by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Rules. The Committee on Ways and Means ordered H.R. 4923 reported, as amended, by voice vote on April 20, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4923 would create a process for the submission of petitions for temporary duty suspensions and reductions to the International Trade Commission (ITC) for Congress to consider for inclusion in a miscellaneous tariff bill (MTB). This bill would also require the ITC to submit a report to Congress no later than twelve months after the enactment of an MTB on the effects on the U.S. economy of duty suspensions and reductions enacted pursuant to this Act as well as make recommendations with respect to those industries that might benefit from permanent duty suspensions and reductions.

Three-Step MTB Process:

First, the new process would begin exclusively through petitions made by local U.S. businesses to the ITC. After the petitions are submitted, the ITC, an independent and non-partisan independent agency, would receive comments from the public and the Administration and conduct its analysis.

Second, the ITC would issue a public report to Congress with its analysis and recommendations regarding products that meet the MTB standards.

Third, the Ways and Means Committee would examine the ITC’s recommendations and draft a MTB proposal. While the Committee can exclude products from its final proposal, it cannot add products that were not recommended by the ITC. As required by House rules, Ways and Means would certify that there are no spending earmarks and would publish a list of any Limited Tariff Benefits. Congress would then consider the MTB within existing rules.

Background

U.S. importers and manufacturers support legislation that temporarily suspends or reduces tariffs on certain imports based on the rationale that these bills help domestic producers of downstream goods reduce costs, thus making their products more competitive. In turn, these cost reductions may be passed on to the consumer.

Under the MTB process that had been followed in the past, which had not been the subject of legislation, House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees combined individual duty suspension bills introduced by Members of Congress into larger pieces of legislation known as miscellaneous trade (or tariff) bills (MTBs). In the new process set forth in H.R. 4923, the process begins when likely beneficiaries submit petitions to the ITC. As under the prior process, before inclusion in an MTB, the individual provisions are reviewed by the ITC and executive branch agencies to ensure that they are noncontroversial, cost less than $500,000, and are able to be administered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. All petitions, public comments, and reports will be published in real time.

Duty suspensions in MTBs are available for three years, and if no subsequent MTB legislation is passed, the duty-free or reduced duty status of the products expires. The last enacted MTB (P.L. 111-227) expired on December 31, 2012.[1]

According to the sponsor, “this bipartisan bill will empower American manufacturers to compete around the world, create new jobs at home, and grow our economy. We’ve also made sure that the new process strictly upholds our earmark ban and that the American people are involved in every step along the way.”[2]

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[1] See CRS Report, “Miscellaneous Tariff Bills: Overview and Issues for Congress,” February 5, 2015
[2] See Ways and Means Press Release, “Bipartisan Members Introduce American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016,” April 13, 2016.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office estimate is unavailable.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Molly Newell with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 2-1374.