Miscellaneous Tariff Bills
Traditionally, miscellaneous tariffs bills (MTBs) are introduced each session of Congress. These bill usually request certain imports into the United States be given duty-free or reduced duty status, or request other technical corrections to the U.S. Harmonized Tariff System (USHTS). MTBs tend to be non-controversial and in the past after leaving the House pass the Senate by unanimous consent.
The Committee on Ways and Means in the House of Representatives has jurisdiction over legislation to amend the U.S. tariff schedule and to make corrections to trade legislation. To ensure that the Subcommittee on Trade has sufficient time to evaluate and consider MTBs, the Subcommittee has followed a customary process beginning with a request that all Members who plan to introduce tariff legislation or miscellaneous corrections to the trade laws do so by a date early in the newest session of Congress.
After collecting and reviewing bills introduced by this deadline, the Subcommittee will issue an advisory requesting public comment on the bills it identifies to assist it in marking up the legislation. In addition, the Subcommittee will request a review and analysis of each bill from the U.S. Trade Representative, the International Trade Commission (ITC also seeks public comment through the federal register), and Customs and Border Patrol. The Department of Commerce also reviews potential duty suspension bills and is generally provided an opportunity to brief staff on the Departments’ positions.
MAS analysts review each bill related to products and other technical issues related to U.S. industry. MAS’s Office of Trade Policy Analysis coordinates and reviews the analysis and along with the Department’s Office of Assistant General Counsel and Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, passes on the Department’s recommendations to OMB and other participating agencies, and ultimately on to Congress.
Once the House passes a final package of MTBs, it enters the Senate and is referred to the Finance Committee. Assuming the bill passes the Senate and any differences are worked out between both chambers, the bill then goes to the President for signature.