The 112th Congress has officially ended and the 113th has begun. It is deeply disappointing that Congress failed to act on bipartisan jobs legislation– the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB). As a result, duty suspensions on over 600 products have lapsed, meaning costs have gone up for companies that manufacture in the United States. Another roughly 700 new bill requests were not considered; as a result, manufacturers did not see the costs of their inputs reduced.
It is already 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in the United States than in the markets of our trading partners. The failure of Congress to pass the MTB by December 31, 2012 means higher costs for manufacturers throughout the United States, putting them at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace. Manufacturers simply cannot afford this tax increase; they are already facing numerous challenges in a difficult global economy. This legislation would have cut their costs, enabling them to retain and grow critical manufacturing jobs here in the United States.
The MTB legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress for decades, and the 112th Congress had the opportunity to pass this jobs-supporting, competitiveness-enhancing bill, but failed to do so. Manufacturers urge the 113th Congress to pass this critical, job-supporting bill as quickly as possible and to ensure full retroactive relief on these tariff-cutting measures.
Jessica Lemos is director of international trade policy, National Association of Manufacturers.