Congratulations to the Free Traders of the 112th Congress

Do you remember the 112th Congress—the one that repeatedly almost shut down the government while still managing to raise taxes and spending? It turns out they did some interesting things with trade policy. The votes recorded in Cato’s congressional trade votes database have been counted, tabulated, and analyzed, and the results are mixed. The predictable legislative outcome was that with a Republican House and Democratic Senate, the 112th Congress furthered the bipartisan establishment trade policy of reciprocal tariff reduction and unilateral subsidy expansion.

The more interesting revelations come from looking at the voting records of individual members. Rather than simply noting whether a policy would promote or diminish free trade or would increase or decrease America’s engagement in the global economy, Cato’s Free Trade, Free Markets methodology distinguishes between barriers (like tariffs and quotas) and subsidies (like loan guarantees, tax credits, and price supports). This distinction enables us to place members within a two-dimensional matrix.

Free traders are those that oppose both barriers and subsidies. Interventionists are those that support both barriers and subsidies. Isolationists are those that support barriers but oppose subsidies. Internationalists are those that oppose barriers but support subsidies. 

The release of this report offers a wonderful opportunity to name names. First I’d like to point out that last term, three Republican representatives voted consistently to support trade barriers. Just to be clear, these barriers are taxes expressly intended to prevent you from buying things you want. The representatives are Walter Jones of North Carolina, Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey, and Steve LaTourette of Ohio. While Walter Jones consistently opposed subsidies (making him the House’s only isolationist last term), Messrs. LoBiondo and LaTourette joined 115 Democrats as interventionists.

With that unpleasantness out of the way, I would like to offer my congratulations and gratitude to the 112th Congress’s free traders. There were 19 in the Senate and 85 in the House. The high number of free traders in the House last term is due mostly to the fact that there was only one trade subsidy vote; if there were more, I’m sure many of these names would disappear from the list, but many would not and they all deserve credit nonetheless.

Free Traders in the House of Representatives for the 112th Congress: Free Traders in the Senate for the 112th Congress:
Sandy Adams

 

 

Kelly Ayotte
Todd Akin

 

 

John Boozman
Justin Amash

 

 

Tom Coburn
Charles Bass

 

 

Bob Corker
Diane Black

 

 

John Cornyn
Marsha Blackburn

 

 

Jim DeMint
Paul Broun

 

 

Lindsey Graham
Michael Burgess

 

 

Chuck Grassley
Quico Canseco

 

 

Orrin Hatch
Steve Chabot

 

 

Dean Heller
Jason Chaffetz

 

 

Jim Inhofe
Mike Coffman

 

 

Jon Kyl
Mike Conaway

 

 

Mike Lee
John Culberson

 

 

John McCain
Jeff Duncan

 

 

Mitch McConnell
Blake Farenthold

 

 

Rand Paul
Stephen Fincher

 

 

Rob Portman
Jeff Flake

 

 

Jeff Sessions
Chuck Fleischmann

 

 

Pat Toomey
John C. Fleming

 

 

 

Randy Forbes

 

 

 

Trent Franks

 

 

 

Cory Gardner

 

 

 

Scott Garrett

 

 

 

Phil Gingrey

 

 

 

Louie Gohmert

 

 

 

Paul Gosar

 

 

 

Tom Graves

 

 

 

Tim Griffin

 

 

 

Ralph Hall

 

 

 

Richard Hanna

 

 

 

Andy Harris

 

 

 

Joe Heck

 

 

 

Jeb Hensarling

 

 

 

Wally Herger

 

 

 

Tim Huelskamp

 

 

 

Bill Huizenga

 

 

 

Lynn Jenkins

 

 

 

Sam Johnson

 

 

 

Tim Johnson

 

 

 

Jim Jordan

 

 

 

Steve King

 

 

 

Jack Kingston

 

 

 

Raul Labrador

 

 

 

Doug Lamborn

 

 

 

Leonard Lance

 

 

 

Jeff Landry

 

 

 

James Lankford

 

 

 

Bob Latta

 

 

 

Kenny Marchant

 

 

 

Tom McClintock

 

 

 

Jeff Miller

 

 

 

Mick Mulvaney

 

 

 

Randy Neugebauer

 

 

 

Kristi Noem

 

 

 

Alan Nunnelee

 

 

 

Steven Palazzo

 

 

 

Erik Paulsen

 

 

 

Tom Petri

 

 

 

Ted Poe

 

 

 

Mike Pompeo

 

 

 

Bill Posey

 

 

 

Thomas Price

 

 

 

Ben Quayle

 

 

 

Todd Rokita

 

 

 

Thomas Rooney

 

 

 

Dennis Ross

 

 

 

Ed Royce

 

 

 

Paul Ryan

 

 

 

Steve Scalise

 

 

 

Jean Schmidt

 

 

 

David Schweikert

 

 

 

Austin Scott

 

 

 

Jim Sensenbrenner

 

 

 

Steve Southerland

 

 

 

Cliff Stearns

 

 

 

Marlin Stutzman

 

 

 

John Sullivan

 

 

 

Scott Tipton

 

 

 

Tim Walberg

 

 

 

Daniel Webster

 

 

 

Allen West

 

 

 

Lynn Westmoreland

 

 

 

Rob Woodal

 

 

 

Todd Young