Support the Global Trade Accountability Act, S. 177

On behalf of FreedomWorks’ activist community, I urge you to contact your senators and strongly encourage them to cosponsor the Global Trade Accountability Act of 2017, S. 177, introduced by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah). The Global Trade Accountability Act would require congressional review of any imposition of duties or other trade measures by the executive branch.

S. 177 works similarly to the REINS Act, H.R. 26, by putting lawmaking powers back in the hands of Congress members, a constitutional authority specifically outlined in Article I, Section 8, of the United States Constitution, stating that Congress shall have the power to “regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”

Through the years, Congress has ceded too much of its responsibilities to the executive branch and its agencies. This practice undermines the Constitution and its central purpose to maintain a separation of powers. By permitting unelected officials the authority to arbitrarily create regulations, we risk significant loss of balance within our government – a fundamental threat to freedom.

Given the nationwide impact any trade measure would create, it is important Congress be involved.

The Global Trade Accountability Act will require that the president obtain a joint resolution from both houses of Congress before implementing any unilateral trade action. Additionally, the president must submit certain information to Congress, including a report that presents an analysis of whether any proposed trade action is in the national economic interest of the United States, an assessment noting any potential retaliation from trading partners affected by the action, and a list of articles that will be affected by the action. This will ensure accountability and discourage unilateral, unchecked action by the federal government’s executive arm.

Furthermore, S. 177 provides a national emergency exception. This exception would allow executive trade actions without congressional approval, but only for a 90-day period. Following this period, the president would need to acquire approval from both the House and the Senate.

As President Donald Trump indicated in his inaugural address, power is back in the hands of the people. We, therefore, need to move away from the Obama-era, executive-action induced presidency we have seen grow over the last eight years. If the aim is to make America great again, then we need to start by restoring order within our government as the founders intended and laid out in the Constitution of the United States. Our elected representatives must reclaim their constitutional powers from the executive branch to help rein in the regulatory state.

For these reasons, please contact your senators and ask them to cosponsor the Global Trade Accountability Act, S. 177.


Adam Brandon, President and CEO, FreedomWorks