The Trump administration continues to argue that it can use the threat of auto tariffs as a tool in negotiating trade agreements, but House Democrats are demanding that the Commerce Department report that supposedly justifies the threat be released publicly.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have suggested recently that the threat is actually a bluff and the report itself fails to rationalize the claim that car and car part imports are a national threat — the basis of levying Section 232 tariffs.

“As members of the New Democrat Coalition Trade Task Force, we once again want to reiterate that we do not believe that imported automobiles and auto parts and the hard-working Americans in the auto sector are a national security threat,” the nine House Democrats say in a letter to Trump. “In fact, your abuse of the Section 232 tariff process jeopardizes our national security by alienating our allies and threatening the economic security of American workers.”  

The fiscal 2020 appropriations law required Trump to release the results of the report on Jan. 19, but that hasn’t happened.

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