Legislative Update: Trade Oversight, Nominations, Gun Imports, Development Finance
Ways and Means Oversight. The House Ways and Means Committee has reported plans to focus on the following issues in fiscal year 2019.
- modernizing and upgrading NAFTA with ambitious and enforceable obligations in a manner that provides the certainty needed for U.S. job creation
- consulting extensively with the administration concerning negotiations on the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement
- working with the administration to determine appropriate partners for additional trade negotiations as well as negotiating priorities
- scrutinizing whether all the enforcement tools in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act are being fully implemented
- finishing work to enact the miscellaneous tariff bill and an extension of the Generalized System of Preferences
- considering the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention Act, legislation to help stop synthetic opioid drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped into the U.S. through international mail
Trade Nominations. The full Senate confirmed the following individuals March 2 to the positions indicated.
- Gregory Doud as chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
- Dennis Shea as deputy USTR and representative to the World Trade Organization
- C.J. Mahoney as deputy USTR for investment, services, labor, environment, Africa, China, and the Western Hemisphere
- Jason Kearns as a member of the International Trade Commission for a term expiring Dec. 16, 2024
Gun Imports. The Assault Weapons Ban of 2018 (H.R. 5087, introduced Feb. 26 by Rep. Cicilline, D-R.I.), would prohibit the importation, sale, transfer, and production of (a) semi-automatic rifles and pistols with a military-style feature that can accept a detachable magazine, (b) semi-automatic rifles with a fixed magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds, (c) semi-automatic shotguns with a military-style feature, (d) any ammunition feeding device that can hold more than 10 rounds, and (e) 205 specifically-named and listed firearms.
Development Finance. The Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act (S. 2463, introduced Feb. 27 by Sen. Corker, R-Tenn., and H.R. 5105, introduced Feb. 27 by Rep. Yoho, R-Fla.) would establish the U.S International Development Finance Corporation, a single, full-service, self-sustaining entity that would assume the activities of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and other entities. Operating in low and lower middle-income countries, the IDFC would have the authority to issue direct loans, including local currency loans; issue guaranties, including local currency guaranties; provide political risk insurance; fund first losses; participate in equity investments; provide technical assistance; make limited grants to unlock larger investments; and attract private sector talent.