Axios reports that the White House wants Congress to pass a bill that “provides Trump a license to raise U.S. tariffs at will.” The bill is called the United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act. To me, it is the FART Act.
The bill, titled the “United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act,” would give Trump unilateral power to ignore the two most basic principles of the WTO and negotiate one-on-one with any country:
1. The “Most Favored Nation” (MFN) principle that countries can’t set different tariff rates for different countries outside of free trade agreements;
2. “Bound tariff rates” — the tariff ceilings that each WTO country has already agreed to in previous negotiations.
“It would be the equivalent of walking away from the WTO and our commitments there without us actually notifying our withdrawal,” said a source familiar with the bill.
According to Axios, the bill—which would give Trump even more power over tariffs at a time when Republicans are breaking with him on the issue—is highly unpopular even among the sycophants in the Trump administration, with one exception: the guy who’s famous for losing his shit at Justin Trudeau a few weeks ago.
In a White House meeting to discuss the bill earlier this year, Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short bluntly told Navarro the bill was “dead on arrival” and would receive zero support on Capitol Hill, according to sources familiar with the exchange.
Navarro replied to Short that he thought the bill would get plenty of support, particularly from Democrats, but Short told Navarro he didn’t think Democrats were in much of a mood to hand over moreauthority to Trump.
Axios reports that Trump was briefed on the draft in late May, but the White House denies that the bill is anywhere close to being introduced. “The only way this would be news is if this were actual legislation that the administration was preparing to rollout, but it’s not,” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told Axios. “Principals have not even met to review any text of legislation on reciprocal trade.”
“The Trump administration should be more worried about not having their current authority restricted,” someone that Axios describes as a ‘smart trade watcher’ said, “rather than expanding authority as this bill would do.”
In other words, it’s about as popular as a pile of farts.