WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) made the following remarks on the Senate floor today ahead of a vote on a symbolic and nonbinding motion reaffirming Congress’ role in trade policy:


Mr./Mdme. President,

My colleagues in the Senate know where I stand on President Trump’s Section 232 steel tariffs. I strongly support them because thousands of steelworkers in Ohio have lost their jobs due to China’s steel overcapacity.

Tough trade enforcement against China’s cheating has been long overdue. I want to see these tariffs used as a tool to bring China to the table and get long-term structural changes that will support American jobs.

My colleagues also know that I strongly oppose the Corker-Toomey legislation, which would undo the President’s tariffs, letting China off the hook, and gut the Section 232 statute permanently. That’s why I stood on the Senate floor two weeks ago and blocked it.

What we are considering today is very different.

With this Motion to Instruct, the Senate will reaffirm that it has a role in Section 232 determinations. Of course we should. That is why I have been talking with Secretary Ross and Ambassador Lighthizer throughout this process.

I will vote for the Corker Motion to Instruct, not because I think it makes sense to consider trade policy on an appropriations bill that has nothing to do with Section 232 or tariffs.

But because, of course Congress should have a role in Section 232 determinations. It should have a role in all trade policy. 

I’ve been saying that for years and I’m glad my colleagues finally agree.

Let me be clear, though. Today’s vote is not a vote for undermining the President’s trade agenda. It’s not a vote to rescind the steel tariffs. And I will do everything in my power to defeat any efforts to do that.