Taxpayer's Tab Highlights Tariff Bills

Did you miss this week's issue of NTUF's Taxpayer's Tab?  If so, you missed quite a bit.  Here's a quick recap.

This week NTUF took a look at the vast array of tariff and duty suspension bills that have been introduced in Congress.  While NTUF's BillTally system only counts spending, the popularity of these bills made it an interesting point of analysis.

Roughly one-third of all Representatives and Senators either authored or cosponsored individual suspension bills that they would like to have included in the omnibus tariff bill that Congress will take up soon. We have counted 2,073 such bills introduced between February 7 and May 17 in the House and Senate. There is some overlap of companion bills between the two Chambers. According to Roll Call, around 1,300 suspensions are under consideration for inclusion in the final package.

These types of bills proliferate because under Congressional rules, individual suspensions can reduce revenues to the Treasury by no more that $500,000. Members often draft several different but related bills to keep each one under the limit. The following examples were introduced by Representative Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Senator John Kerry (D-MA):

  • H.R. 4711/S. 2797: A bill to extend the temporary suspension of duty on leather basketballs;

  • H.R. 4713/S. 2799: To suspend temporarily the duty on rubber basketballs; and

  • H.R. 4714/S. 2798: A bill to extend the temporary reduction of duty on basketballs having an external surface other than leather or rubber.

Individually, the budgetary impacts are small, but when thousands of suspensions are rolled into a single bill, the effects add up. CBO estimated that the most recent tariff bill, which passed two years ago, reduced revenues by nearly $300 million over three years.

The Tab includes tables on who is sponsoring and cosponsoring the most suspension bills in each chamber as well as which state delegations have sponsored the most bills.  Give it a look.

Remember, you can receive your own copy of The Taxpayer's Tab each week via email by signing up here.

You can support NTUF and its ongoing work by making a tax-deductible contribution here.