Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer,
As you know, article 1 section 8 of the Constitution vests Congress with the authority to "lay and collect . . . duties" and to "regulate commerce with foreign nations." Through statute, Congress has authorized the President to conduct trade negotiations consistent with Congressional negotiating objectives and to enforce those agreements as well as U.S. trade laws, in close consultation with Congress. For this partnership to work smoothly and to maintain Congressional prerogatives, it is essential that the United States Trade Representative be fully staffed at the most senior levels.
To that end, we write to urge you to bring to the Senate floor for consideration as soon as possible the nominations for senior positions at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. It is our expectation that having these key officials in place will create a better environment for consultation with Congress, especially with the designation of one of these officials as the agency's Chief Transparency Officer, as USTR carries out its dual mission of seeking ambitious trade agreements that benefit all Americans and holding our trading partners accountable.