The Tariff Power

May 10, 1945

Report Outline
Controversy on Trade Agreements Renewal
Delegations of Tariff Power to the Executive
Constitutionality of the Trade Agreements
Special Focus

Controversy on Trade Agreements Renewal

Minority Support of Trade Agreements Act in 1943

The proposed extension to 1948 of the President's power to negotiate reciprocal trade agreements with foreign nations faces strong Republican opposition in Congress. House hearings on the renewal legislation, opened April 18, have been punctuated by charges that minority members of the Ways and Means Committee are using filibustering tactics. Although the hearings have been going on for three weeks, relatively few of more than 100 scheduled witnesses have been heard to date. The Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act is due to expire by limitation on June 12.

Republicans in both House and Senate voted almost solidly against passage of the original act in 1934, and against its renewal in 1937 and 1940. In 1943 a majority of Republican members in both houses supported the renewal resolution, after the extension had been cut from three years to two years. But now that the administration is asking not only for renewal but for a wider grant of tariff-making powers, there has been a resurgence of Republican opposition.

The moderation of Republican opposition in 1943 did not signify a conversion to the trade-agreements program. It reflected, rather, a belief that a major change in tariff policy during the war would be unwise. Rep. Wadsworth (R., N. Y.) expressed the feeling of numerous members of his party when he told the House he would vote for continuation of the act “because in time of war we would better not touch it at all.” Negotiation of new trade agreements, moreover, was virtually at a standstill owing to war conditions.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Constitution and Separation of Powers
Sep. 07, 2012  Re-examining the Constitution
Jan. 29, 1988  Treaty Ratification
Mar. 27, 1987  Bicentennial of the Constitution
Jan. 31, 1986  Constitution Debate Renewed
Mar. 16, 1979  Calls for Constitutional Conventions
Jul. 04, 1976  Appraising the American Revolution
Sep. 12, 1973  Separation of Powers
Jul. 12, 1972  Treaty Ratification
Apr. 19, 1967  Foreign Policy Making and the Congress
Mar. 05, 1947  Contempt of Congress
May 10, 1945  The Tariff Power
Jul. 01, 1943  Executive Agreements
Jun. 01, 1943  Advice and Consent of the Senate
May 24, 1943  Modernization of Congress
Jan. 18, 1943  The Treaty Power
Aug. 24, 1942  Congress and the Conduct of War
May 09, 1940  Congressional Powers of Inquiry
Nov. 09, 1939  Participation by Congress in Control of Foreign Policy
Apr. 21, 1937  Revision of the Constitution
Feb. 24, 1936  Advance Opinions on Constitutional Questions
Oct. 04, 1935  Federal Powers Under the Commerce Clause
Jun. 19, 1935  The President, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court
Sep. 10, 1928  The Senate and the Multilateral Treaty
Dec. 16, 1926  The Senate's Power of Investigation
Oct. 03, 1924  Pending Proposals to Amend the Constitution
Powers and History of the Presidency
Trade Negotiating Authority