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Congress doubles tariff-relief bills

Aug. 20, 2012 at 12:58 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Members of Congress have introduced 1,297 bills this year that allow major companies to dodge import taxes, which is more than twice the number of 2010.

The bills, called tariff-relief bills, authorize companies to import products not made in the United States, such as batteries, without paying import taxes, the New York Post reported.

Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., has introduced 18 of such bills for companies such as defense contractor Honeywell International.

"Any business that can make a valid argument that they cannot get a specific component in America and the tariffs are unfair, whether they support me or oppose me, I will fight for them," Israel said.

A taxpayers group says tariff-relief bills do more harm than good.

In 2010, Congress passed 600 tariff-relief bills, which will cost taxpayers $298 million over 10 years, the Congressional Research Service reported.

"It's just an indicator of the problem with the system," said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. "Doing it in a cockamamie way every two years doesn't serve the country -- unless you are a lobbyist for one of the products. Then you say, 'Yeah.'"

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