Toomey seeks to restore authority over ‘national security’ tariffs

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WILKES-BARRE – US Senator Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, and Mark Warner, D-Virginia this week introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent the presidential abuse of “national security” tariffs by restoring congressional authority on trade.

The Congressional Bicameral Trade Authority Act would subject any tariffs or quotas proposed by the President for national security purposes (through the Section 232 authority) to Congress for review and approval before d ‘come into force.

Previous administrations unilaterally abused Section 232 tariffs to protect favored industries, resulting in economic disruption, damage to U.S. relations with our allies, and retaliatory tariffs detrimental to U.S. farmers and manufacturers.

“For too long, Congress has allowed presidents to unilaterally impose tariffs on false claims of ‘national security’ – regardless of whether or not the import in question poses a real threat to national defense,” said Toomey. “These wrongly imposed tariffs have increased costs for American consumers, significantly burdened domestic manufacturers and undermined our relationships with our allies. Through the Congressional Bicameral Trade Authority Act, we can restore the authority of Congress by once again requiring that tariffs imposed for so-called “national security” purposes be approved by Congress, including those that have already been adopted on steel and aluminum in 2018. “

Sen Warner added, “As our economy continues to recover from the economic crisis, we must ensure that Congress has a say in any future action that may restrict trade or force significant changes. This legislation, which we introduced under the last administration, will help prevent any future president from abusing national security authorities to impose unilateral tariffs. It will also help ensure that all efforts to crack down on unfair or illegal trade practices are strategic and carried out in concert with our allies. “

Under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act 1962, Congress has delegated certain tariffs and quotas to the executive under certain conditions in the event that an import poses a threat to national security. Historically, Section 232 investigations have been rare and rarely resulted in the imposition of tariffs – before 2018, a President last took action under Section 232 in 1986.

However, the previous administration made extensive use of Section 232, unilaterally imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum and investigating six additional products. In the 60 years of Section 232’s existence, about a quarter of investigations have taken place in the past four years alone.

To avoid a future abuse of Section 232 authority, the Senators’ Bill would require congressional approval in the event the executive chooses to adjust import levels. It would also restore the national security intent to the law, defining the term “national security” to include articles specifically related to military equipment, energy resources and critical infrastructure.

On September 24, Toomey said the Biden administration launched a new Section 232 investigation into the national security impacts of imported neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) permanent magnets – rare earth magnets – which are used in the production of wind turbines, electric vehicles, and a number of other items.

State announces prison

population at its lowest for 20 years

Governor Tom Wolf announced this week that as of October 1, the number of people incarcerated in state correctional facilities was 36,743 – the lowest total since 2001.

The population total reflects a reduction of more than 8,300 people since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

“My administration has taken a comprehensive approach to reducing the prison population, with a focus on the rehabilitation of incarcerated men and women and post-incarceration opportunities, and I am proud of our successful efforts while ensuring public safety. “said Governor Wolf. . “Most people in jail will be released at some point, so investing in resources and creating good policies ensures lower incarceration rates, reduced recidivism and a better and more productive quality of life for the re-offenders. incoming. “

“The bipartisan support from the Wolf administration and state legislators – particularly the Justice Reinvestment Task Force – has created an environment that allows DOC to work towards decarceration,” said the acting secretary of the Ministry of Justice. Pennsylvania Corrections Department George Little, who noted that people of color account for 70% of the reduction in Pennsylvania’s prison population since 2015. “The reduction in the number of people incarcerated allows the DOC to focus on providing mental health, addiction treatment and other essential services for the remaining incarcerated population. “

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections oversees the operation of 23 state correctional facilities, a motivational boot camp, 14 community correctional centers, and nearly 40 contracted facilities.

For more information on DOC, visit cor.pa.gov.

New driver’s license program expands

eligibility for the visually impaired

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced this week that visually impaired residents of Pennsylvania can now use bioptic telescope lenses to obtain a learner’s license and ultimately obtain a driver’s license.

“This law makes important changes that will ultimately increase the independence of many of our residents and improve their quality of life,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian.

Law 131, which was enacted by Governor Tom Wolf in December, came into effect on September 27 and ordered a safe program in place for those eligible to use bioptic telescope lenses that can help them meet visual acuity standards to qualify and obtain a driver’s license.

The law amends Title 75 – the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code – by allowing drivers with visual acuity less than 20/100 combined but at least 20/200 visual acuity in the best corrected eye to be eligible to apply for a bioptic telescope learner’s permit.

To be eligible, the person must:

• Pass a complete eye exam performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist;

• Have owned a Bioptic Telescope Lens for at least 3 months;

• Follow a minimum of 10 hours of instruction for front passengers in the car with a professional low vision rehabilitation; and

• Provide the department with a letter of enrollment with a Certified Driving Instructor (CDI) or Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) approved by PennDOT.

Drivers of bioptic telescopes may only drive during daylight hours, are restricted to roads other than highways, and may only drive passenger vehicles weighing no more than 10,000 pounds.

For more information on Driver and Vehicle Services, please visit the website, www.dmv.pa.gov.

Senator Casey, his colleagues present

bill to empower fossil fuel workers

US Senators Bob Casey, D-Scranton, Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) this week introduced the American Energy Worker Opportunity Act, which would provide critical resources and training opportunities to help and empower workers whose jobs are affected by the transition of the energy industry to renewable sources.

“Workers at our coal mines, power plants, steel mills and other high-emission manufacturing sites have provided the electricity and materials that have fueled the US economy since the Industrial Revolution,” said Casey. We have a responsibility to ensure that these workers and their families are not left behind. We also have a responsibility to address the climate crisis, as the impacts of Hurricane Ida and other natural disasters in Pennsylvania have reminded us. This legislation would provide a worker-centric solution to alleviating the climate crisis while supporting the workers who have kept the lights on in this nation for years. “

The bill would create a worker bridging program with wage supplements, health care benefits, education and training funds, and an additional education benefit for the children of laid-off workers. It would include:

Eligible workers: workers whose employment ends at a coal mine, coal-fired power station, coal transport or petroleum refinery, provided the worker has been employed continuously and full-time for at least 12 months prior to layoff, with permission for the secretary to add additional groups of the fossil fuel dependent workforce as the impacts on employment make it necessary.

Salary supplement: workers will receive replacement or supplemental wages in addition to help to maintain their health benefits and contribute to their retirement.

Education and training of workers: workers will be eligible for eligible education and training grants up to and including a four-year degree

Education of the children of displaced workers: direct scholarships for children of displaced workers deemed eligible by the program for eligible education and training up to and including a four-year diploma./

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