Alabama, Tennessee Senators Introduce Auto Tariff-Delay Legislation

U.S. Sens. Doug Jones of Alabama and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee have introduced “The Automotive Jobs Act” bill that would require a study of the impact on the automotive industry in Alabama and elsewhere before tariffs could be imposed.

The bill by Sens. Jones, D-Mountain Brook, and Alexander, R-Tenn., would delay President Trump’s proposed 25 percent tariff on imported cars, trucks, and auto parts. Last May, the president directed the U.S. Commerce Department to determine whether imported automobiles, trucks, and parts are a threat to U.S. national security and to subsequently levy tariffs.

The Commerce Department should finish its investigation and make a recommendation in February, Sen. Jones said. The legislation would require the International Trade Commission (ITC) to conduct a comprehensive study of the well-being, health, and vitality of the United States automotive industry before tariffs could be applied.

Alabama is home to major international automotive manufacturers and hundreds of supporting industries and suppliers.

“Automobile tariffs are nothing but new taxes on American consumers and only serve to threaten an industry that is vital to Alabama’s economy and supports 57,000 good jobs,” said Sen. Jones, who heard concerns from representatives of all four Alabama automakers during a roundtable discussion in Mobile, he said.

Senators Jones and Alexander first raised their concerns in a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urging him to reconsider the tariffs. Their legislation addresses the key points the senators raised in their letter to Secretary Ross.


This week, U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt announced he was named ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science.

“It is a great honor to be named the ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science,” Aderholt said in a statement. “This subcommittee is certainly important to America, but even more so for North Alabama.”

This subcommittee is responsible for discretionary spending at the Commerce Department and the Justice Department, as well various independent federal agencies, including the International Trade Commission, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

“This subcommittee is directly responsible for funding NASA and the FBI, along with the Department of Commerce,” Aderholt said. “The FBI and NASA are two very important agencies to the economy of not only Huntsville, but also the northern portion of our state. NASA, of course, has a long history in this region and gave rise to Huntsville’s name as the Rocket City. And in just the past few years, the FBI has built a presence on Redstone Arsenal and is in the process of growing to a level of approximately 4,000 jobs.

“With my leadership on this subcommittee, I will work to ensure that North Alabama continues to lead as we return to the moon, put boots on Mars and travel into deep space. And with the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School, and growing footprint in North Alabama, I will also be a voice to let my colleagues know that North Alabama is in a prime position to be a hub for matters concerning our national security.”


Trump says US will develop space-based missile defense

Associated Press (Riechmann and Baldor 1/17) “Moving to protect the U.S. from advanced missile threats from China and Russia, President Donald Trump on Thursday laid out plans for a new array of space-based sensors and other high-tech systems designed to more quickly detect and defeat attacks.

“Trump, in a speech at the Pentagon, declared that space is the new warfighting domain. And he vowed that the U.S. will develop an unrivaled missile defense system to protect against advanced hypersonic and cruise missile threats from competitors and adversaries.

“‘Our goal is simple: to ensure that we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States – anywhere, anytime, anyplace,’ Trump said. ‘In a time of rapidly evolving threats, we must be certain that our defensive capabilities are unrivaled and unmatched anywhere in the world.’

“Trump did not mention Russia, China or North Korea in his roughly 20-minute speech. But the Pentagon’s new strategy makes clear that its plan for a more aggressive space-based missile defense system is aimed at protecting against existing threats from North Korea and Iran and countering advanced weapon systems being developed by Russia and China.”