Section 232 should be completed without further delay, bipartisan caucus says.
Nearly 70 Members of Congress sent a letter to President Trump on Friday urging him to unveil the findings of the administration’s national security investigation into steel imports “as expeditiously as possible.”
The 68 members of the Congressional Steel Caucus — led by new Co-Chairmen Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) and Vice Chairman Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) — note that the ongoing steel imports crisis has “caused layoffs and mill idling throughout the country, including in many of the communities we represent,” and highlight the importance of steel to “our military, critical infrastructure, and the livelihoods of innumerable American families.”
The Members also write that the delayed release of the report — Trump initially said he would release it by the end of June but has yet to do so — is causing additional problems. Imports are up 19.6 percent in 2017 compared to the time frame last year, which has led to hundreds of new layoffs. The Caucus tells Trump:
“Each day that passes is another day that the domestic steel industry faces an onslaught of imports and the deeply harmful effects of unfair trade practices, which is why we believe the investigation must be completed as soon as possible.”
The caucus letter comes on the heels of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s decision to put a hold on two of Trump’s Commerce Department nominees in response to the continued delay of the steel report, along with a similar "Section 232" investigation into aluminum imports. In an interview with The New York Times, Schumer noted that Trump has been “a total paper tiger on this issue.”
“I am deeply frustrated by [Commerce Secretary Wilbur] Ross’s perpetual foot dragging on this critical investigation, and I was shocked by his recent nonsensical excuse that the Department of Commerce is waiting until after the unrelated Republican tax plan passes to complete these investigations,” Schumer said in a statement. “The steel industry has seen a surge of imports since the announce of these investigations that has already cost jobs.”
Indeed, as Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul told the Times, surging imports cost 180 jobs at the Dura-Bond Industries plant in Steelton, Pa., and 150 jobs at ArcelorMittal’s rolling mill in Conshohocken, Pa. Since the imports crisis began a few years ago, tens of thousands of steel and aluminum workers have faced layoffs and dozens of facilities have closed.
Schumer and eight Democratic Senators also wrote to Trump last week urging the president to finally release the reports, joining other bipartisan Members of Congress — and more than 65,000 AAM advocates — who have pressed for action in recent months.
Not only are the two Section 232 investigations critical for jobs, both are also a must for national security, since steel and aluminum are utilized by the military and needed for our critical infrastructure.
“American steel is used in aircraft carriers, armored vehicles, submarines, refineries, power plants, highways, bridges, dams, reservoirs, and hospitals. It is responsible for protecting our brave service members every single day and allows our military to respond to outside threats,” the Congressional Steel Caucus tells Trump in its Oct. 27 letter. “Without American steel, the Department of Defense would be forced to rely on foreign imports, which could become extremely dangerous during a national emergency or military conflict. Therefore, a robust domestic steel industry is absolutely critical to our national security.”