Issue: Economy and Jobs

Walorski, Kind Call on USTR Lighthizer to Establish Tariff Exclusion Process

Walorski, Kind Call on USTR Lighthizer to Establish Tariff Exclusion Process

Walorski and Kind Are Joined by 167 Members with Constituents Impacted by Tariffs and Retaliation

WASHINGTONU.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) today called on United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to establish a process that allows U.S. companies to request an exclusion from the recent tariffs imposed on $200 billion of Chinese imports. This process would help U.S. companies retain global competitiveness, and would help target the effects of the tariffs on China, rather than on U.S. companies and consumers. Exclusions were established for all previous rounds of tariffs, but have been neglectfully omitted for the most recent tariffs.

Reps. Walorski and Kind were joined by a bipartisan coalition of 167 Members of Congress.

Statements from the lawmakers are below:

“We need to hold China accountable, but we need to do it in a way that doesn’t harm American manufacturers, farmers, workers, and consumers. A fair and transparent exclusion process for U.S. businesses will help minimize the negative impact of these tariffs and build on our nation’s economic momentum. The administration should heed our bipartisan call to establish a strong exclusion process and ensure we stay focused on the real target, which is China’s unfair trade practices,” said Congresswoman Walorski.

“The very least this Administration can do is provide businesses the ability to petition their government to prove their case that these tariffs will hurt their businesses, workers, and customers alike.  I am committed to working together to ensure we find a safe landing zone for American farmers and businesses, and will continue to call on the President and Ambassador Lighthizer to end these reckless tariffs,” said Rep. Ron Kind.

This request remains consistent with previous Section 301 exclusion requests. An exclusion process is vital to ensuring that U.S. companies can seek relief in the event that there are no alternative suppliers of the good, or if other special circumstances exist that could harm their ability to compete in the global marketplace.

Read the letter here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Statement on U.S.-Canada-Mexico Trade Agreement

Walorski Statement on U.S.-Canada-Mexico Trade Agreement

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after the U.S., Canada, and Mexico announced a new trilateral trade agreement:

“A modernized trade agreement with Mexico and Canada will strengthen America’s economy and open new markets for made-in-America products. This announcement is welcome news for northern Indiana, and I look forward to reviewing the details of the agreement to ensure it benefits Hoosier manufacturers, farmers, and workers.

“However, I am concerned there is still no resolution to the steel and aluminum tariffs and retaliation that continue to harm our manufacturers and threaten Hoosier jobs. The Trump administration must provide clarity on the steps being taken to end these tariffs on our trading partners and target the real problem, which is China’s unfair trade practices.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Votes to Lock In Middle-Class and Small Business Tax Cuts

Walorski Votes to Lock In Middle-Class and Small Business Tax Cuts

House Passes Tax Reform 2.0 to Make Tax Cuts Permanent, Expand Families Access to Savings, Support Small Business Startups

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after the House passed several bills to lock in middle-class and small business tax cuts, expand savings options for families, and help startups grow:

“Hardworking Hoosiers are keeping more of the money they earn and local businesses are expanding because of historic tax cuts Congress passed last year,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “With Tax Reform 2.0, we are taking action to build on our economic momentum by making the tax cuts for middle-income families and small businesses permanent, empowering individuals and families to save more for the future, and helping new businesses get off the ground so they can create jobs.”

BACKGROUND

The House this week passed three bills, known together as Tax Reform 2.0, aimed at advancing the economic growth spurred by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law in December 2017. Congresswoman Walorski voted for all three bills.

Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act  (H.R. 6760)

  • Makes permanent the tax cuts for individuals, families, and small businesses in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including:
    • Lower tax rates for individuals and families at all income levels;
    • Nearly doubled standard deduction;
    • Doubled Child Tax Credit with expanded eligibility;
    • Paid Family Leave Tax Credit; and
    • Doubled exemption from the Death Tax.

Family Savings Act (H.R. 6757)

  • Expands the ability for individuals and families to use a variety of savings vehicles.
  • Makes it easier for small businesses to provide retirement plans to their employees.
  • Establishes universal savings accounts to allow individuals to save for any purpose.
  • Expands permitted uses of 529 education savings plans.
  • Allows individuals to withdraw funds from their retirement accounts, penalty-free, at the birth or adoption of a child.

American Innovation Act (H.R. 6756)

  • Doubles the amount of start-up and organizational costs that can be expensed in the first year of operations.
  • Allows start-ups to expand by bringing in new investors without triggering limits on their access to tax benefits like the R&D credit for activities conducted in their early years.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Statement on Tariff Announcement

Walorski Statement on Tariff Announcement

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after the Trump administration announced additional tariffs on Chinese imports:

“We need to hold China accountable for its unfair trade practices, but I am increasingly concerned about the harmful impact tariffs are having on Hoosier farmers and manufacturers. It’s time for President Trump and President Xi to meet face-to-face and find a long-term solution that ensures American farmers, businesses, and workers are treated fairly. Until such an agreement is reached, the administration should work with Congress to minimize the negative effects of these tariffs.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Statement on Tariff Exclusion Process Improvements

Walorski Statement on Tariff Exclusion Process Improvements

Commonsense Fixes Include Changes Walorski Requested to Help American Manufacturers

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement on improvements to the steel and aluminum tariffs product exclusion process:

“It has been clear from the beginning that the product exclusion process for steel and aluminum tariffs is broken. By addressing some of the concerns I have raised after hearing from manufacturers across the country, these commonsense fixes will go a long way toward improving the process. I welcome President Trump’s action to ensure local businesses are treated more fairly and to protect American jobs. I remain concerned about the lack of transparency and consistency for companies seeking product exclusions, and I will continue working with Secretary Ross to bring about additional improvements.”

BACKGROUND

President Trump on Wednesday signed proclamations related to the section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. The proclamations make the following changes to the product exclusion process:

  1. Allowing companies to file for exclusions for products from countries subject to quotas;
  2. Providing limited grandfathering for certain contracts for steel from quota countries; and
  3. Extending retroactivity of relief to the date of filing, rather than the date of posting.

Congresswoman Walorski earlier this year called for improvements to the product exclusion process in order to reduce burdens on manufacturers and other small businesses. She led a bipartisan letter signed by 38 of her colleagues asking Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to implement changes to streamline the process and provide certainty and relief to small businesses impacted by the tariffs. Among the changes Walorski requested were extending relief retroactive to the date of submission and grandfathering existing contracts.

At a Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing in July, Walorski renewed calls for the Commerce Department to fix the broken exclusion process and highlighted problems encountered by U.S. manufacturers in all three phases of the process: posting, objections, and decisions.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Statement on U.S.-Mexico Understanding on Trade

Walorski Statement on U.S.-Mexico Understanding on Trade

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after President Trump announced an understanding was reached in trade negotiations with Mexico:

“I just met with Hoosier corn and soybean farmers in Miami County, and they told me what I hear from farmers and manufacturers across northern Indiana: they need long-term certainty when it comes to trade. A stronger, modernized trade agreement among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico is critical to building on our nation’s economic momentum and helping Hoosiers thrive.

“Today’s announcement is a positive step, and I am optimistic it will lead to an agreement that better meets the needs of our nation’s manufacturers, farmers, businesses, and workers. I hope Canada returns quickly to the negotiating table, and I look forward to reviewing the details of any final agreement.”

BACKGROUND

Walorski earlier today spoke with Hoosier corn and soybean farmers at a “Shop Talk” event in Macy, Ind., hosted by the Indiana Corn Growers Association and Indiana Soybean Alliance.

In April, she led a letter signed by 64 members of Congress urging President Trump to build on the economic momentum spurred by tax cuts by remaining in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and modernizing the trade pact for the 21st century.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Statement on Strong Economic Report

Walorski Statement on Strong Economic Report

Economy Grew 4.1% in 2nd Quarter, Highest Rate of GDP Growth in Nearly Four Years

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement on the strong economic report showing 4.1 percent growth of gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2018:

“Today’s strong economic report is the latest sign the American economy is booming. Historic tax cuts and regulatory reforms have put our country on a stronger path, and we need to keep this momentum going. That’s why I’ll continue fighting for Hoosier workers, farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses so hardworking families have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski: Tariff Exclusion Process Is Broken

Walorski: Tariff Exclusion Process Is Broken

U.S. Manufacturers Testify at Ways and Means Hearing on Problems Plaguing Exclusion Process for Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today at a Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing renewed calls for the Commerce Department to fix the broken exclusion process for steel and aluminum tariffs.

“The current exclusion process is broken – it’s opaque, unfair, and breathtakingly inconsistent,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “We’re not asking Commerce to grant every request. We’re saying there are major structural issues that are causing uneven outcomes. We’re saying that the deck seems to be stacked toward one side right now and it needs to be rebalanced.”

Walorski highlighted problems encountered by U.S. manufacturers in all three phases of the process: posting, objections, and decisions. In May, Walorski led a bipartisan letter signed by 39 members of Congress asking Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to implement 10 commonsense changes to the exclusion process.

Posting

Businesses granted product exclusions are eligible for reimbursement of tariffs paid, but relief is retroactive to the date of posting for public comment rather than the date of the request.

According to data available on Regulations.gov and compiled by Walorski’s office, applications are posted an average of 3-4 weeks after they are submitted. Such delays are made worse when companies are forced to re-submit applications due to unclear guidelines or inconsistent rejections for minor errors.

Todd Adams, president of Sanitube LLC and vice president of Stainless Imports, Inc., testified that his company was forced to pay tariffs on a one-time order of imported steel. Although the shipments were initiated before Section 232 tariffs took effect, the company is ineligible for retroactive relief on two shipping containers of steel that arrived after the exclusion request was submitted but before it was posted. The company is still awaiting a decision on one of its applications.

Objections

Exclusion requests are posted for a 30-day public comment period, but there is no process in place to allow businesses to rebut objections.

Out of more than 5,700 objections submitted in response to steel and aluminum exclusion requests, only 54 were posted before the end of the comment period, leaving businesses no opportunity to respond. Some were told they had to re-submit their request – starting the process over – in order to make a rebuttal.

Willie Chiang, executive vice president, COO, and director of Plains All American Pipeline, testified that several objections to his company’s exclusion request were submitted on the last day of the 30-day comment period and were posted a week after it closed. The exclusion request was denied.

Decisions

The Commerce Department has made decisions on approximately 1,100 exclusion requests but is providing no explanation for its approvals or denials.

The department provides one of two reasons for denying a request: there is sufficient quantity and quality of domestic supply, or the application was incomplete. However, it does not provide an explanation or disclose its analysis. Demonstrating the lack of transparency in the decision process, Commerce has denied seven exclusion requests on the basis of sufficient supply even though there were no objections submitted.

One Commerce official predicted this opaque an inconsistent process in June, telling the Washington Post: “It’s going to be so unbelievably random, and some companies are going to get screwed.”

Video of Congresswoman Walorski’s comments at the hearing is available here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Votes to Repeal Job-Killing Medical Device Tax

Walorski Votes to Repeal Job-Killing Medical Device Tax

House Passes Permanent Repeal of Tax That Puts Hoosier Jobs and Innovation at Risk

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today voted to repeal the job-killing medical device tax and protect Hoosier jobs in the innovative medical device manufacturing industry.

“Our economy is booming because of historic tax cuts and regulatory reforms, and we need to keep that momentum going,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “It’s time to end the medical device tax once and for all. Permanently repealing this job-killing tax will protect Hoosier workers and help patients access the life-saving medical technology they need.”

The House passed H.R. 184, the Protect Medical Innovation Act, which would permanently repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device sales, by a vote of 283 to 132. Congress earlier this year suspended the tax through 2019. Walorski in December introduced H.R. 4617, which would have suspended the medical device tax for five years.

Video of Walorski speaking on the House floor in support of H.R. 184 is available here. The full text of her remarks is below.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I rise today in support of H.R. 184, the Protect Medical Innovation Act.

“This legislation will permanently repeal the job-killing medical device tax. Hoosiers are proud to be leaders in medical innovation, with more than 300 medical device manufacturers in our state that support nearly 55,000 jobs. These are high-paying jobs, with workers in the industry earning about $50,000 per year on average.

“However, after Obamacare’s medical device tax took effect, the industry lost almost 29,000 good-paying jobs nationwide from 2012 to 2015, according to Commerce Department data. That’s why Congress took bipartisan action in 2015 to suspend the tax for two years, and did so again earlier this year. But if it goes back into effect after 2019, it will impede new discoveries and stifle medical innovation while destroying good jobs.

“Right now, our economy is booming because of historic tax cuts and regulatory reforms, and we need to keep that momentum going. It’s time to end the medical device tax once and for all. Permanently repealing this job-killing tax will protect American workers and help patients access the life-saving medical technology they need.

“Mr. Speaker, the medical device tax would have a devastating impact on Hoosier workers and people from across the country who depend on these products. The Protect Medical Innovation Act will boost American innovation and manufacturing, and it will encourage medical research and development that make a real difference in people’s lives. I urge my colleagues to support this vital piece of legislation, and I yield back.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Leads Bipartisan Letter Warning Against Auto Tariffs

Walorski Leads Bipartisan Letter Warning Against Auto Tariffs

149 Members of Congress Urge Secretary Ross Not to Put American Jobs, Economic Growth at Risk

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of 149 members of Congress today called on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross not to put American jobs and economic growth at risk by imposing tariffs on automobiles and automotive parts.

In a letter led by U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), and Ron Kind (D-Wis.), the members highlighted the economic benefits of the auto industry and warned of negative consequences if the ongoing Section 232 national security investigation into imports of automobiles and automotive parts results in tariffs, quotas, or other restrictions.

“We support the Department of Commerce as it seeks a level playing field for our manufacturers and workers in the global marketplace and penalizes bad actors,” the members wrote. “We do not believe that imports of automobiles and automotive parts pose a national security threat. Rather, we believe the imposition of trade restrictions on these products could undermine our economic security.”

A signed copy of the letter is available here, and the full text is below.

Wednesday, July 17, 2018

The Honorable Wilbur Ross
Secretary
Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20230

Dear Secretary Ross:

We support your efforts to ensure a fair and level playing field with our trading partners, and we agree with you that the manufacturing base, particularly the automotive and automotive supplier industry, is important to the economic security of the United States. However, we are concerned that the recently announced Section 232 national security investigation into imports of automobiles and automotive parts could have a significant negative impact on the economic security of our country.

Our nation’s automotive industry is a critical driver of the American economy, historically contributing between 3.0-3.5% of our total GDP. It depends on a vast and complex network of suppliers to build vehicles, a large dealer network to sell them, and a substantial retail and aftermarket industry to supply repair and replacement parts – establishing facilities and creating jobs in every state.  The industry has rebounded from the depths of the Great Recession, and in some parts of the industry, employment is actually higher than pre-recession levels. However, imposing tariffs, quotas, or other restrictions on automobiles and/or automotive parts threatens to undo that momentum.

We urge you to keep the following factors at the top of your mind as you conduct your investigation and develop recommendations:

  • Quality, high-paying jobs are at stake in every state that span the industry: suppliers, dealers, and automakers; research and development, design, and manufacturing; installation and maintenance;
  • Innovative, advanced technology work, including research and development and manufacturing of high-value, highly technical components, is conducted here in the U.S.;
  • Close trading partners, many of which are our allies and valuable export markets for vehicles and parts manufactured in the U.S., are planning retaliation against our vulnerable industries;
  • Suppliers, automakers, and dealers have planned considerable investments in innovation, expansion, workforce training, and job growth;
  • The industry is facing price increases and supply challenges due to other trade actions;
  • Price increases from tariffs, quotas, and other trade restrictions will ultimately be borne by American families in the form of higher vehicle prices, delayed purchases, and foregone vehicle maintenance, among others; and
  • Unintended consequences will hurt other industries that rely on products that could be subject to trade restrictions, including used automobiles, heavy-duty vehicles, military vehicles, RVs, heavy machines and construction equipment, vintage and antique automobiles, and other vehicles.

We support the Department of Commerce as it seeks a level playing field for our manufacturers and workers in the global marketplace and penalizes bad actors. We believe, however, that the taxpayer dollars being used by the Commerce Department for this investigation would be better spent on other endeavors. We do not believe that imports of automobiles and automotive parts pose a national security threat. Rather, we believe the imposition of trade restrictions on these products could undermine our economic security.

Sincerely,

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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