Murphy, Cunningham Urge Leadership to Suspend Tariffs During Coronavirus Crisis

March 19, 2020 by Dan McCue
Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

WASHINGTON – Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., have written a letter to the Congressional leadership, urging them to temporarily suspend tariffs imposed by the White House as part of Congress’ upcoming coronavirus response bill.

Both Murphy, a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, and Cunningham, represent trade-dependent congressional districts that have been hard hit by the ongoing tariff conflict.

In their letter, the representatives argue a “détente” would provide much-needed relief to millions of American families and businesses affected by coronavirus.

Murphy and Cunningham also push for Congress to prohibit any new tariffs, which are taxes on American families and businesses, from being imposed during this public health emergency. They are also asking that  American businesses receive a refund of tariffs paid to date to help them weather this economic crisis.

“We are living in a dramatically different world than we were just several weeks ago,” they write. “Many American workers and businesses that were once thriving, or at least surviving, now suddenly stand on the precipice of financial ruin. 

“These tariffs and counter-tariffs are making their life more difficult—a strong headwind in what is quickly becoming a violent economic storm—and we have the obligation to relieve that burden to the greatest extent possible,” Murphy and Cunningham add.

The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on many Chinese imports under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and on aluminum and steel imports from nearly every country under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. 

This has led China and many other countries to retaliate by imposing tariffs on a wide variety of American exports. Today, 161 trade associations representing businesses in every sector urged the president to temporarily suspend these tariffs.

Murphy and Cunningham sent their letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The full text of the letter can be found here.

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