Robert Byrd. AP photo from Wall Street Journal
In August the Wall Street Journal reported that Senators Robert Byrd (D-WVa) and Sherrod Brown (D- OH) were testing the waters for reinstatement of the Byrd Amendment. The Journal referred to:
...subterranean efforts to revive the "Byrd Amendment," a nasty trade law that offers U.S. companies a double reward for seeking tariff help from Washington.
Senator Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.) and a few bipartisan pals snuck this protectionist gift into law in 2000 by attaching it to a spending bill. Congress repealed it in 2005, but not before the provision did great harm to America's trading reputation and U.S. exporters after being declared illegal by the World Trade Organization. Now with a new Congress, and in an election year, Mr. Byrd and Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown are once again poised to sneak the provision into law.
A draft "Dear Colleague" letter of anonymous (but probably Byrd-Brown) provenance has been circulating in the Senate referring to "strong support for legislation to reinstate" the 2000 law, whose repeal "was a terrible mistake." Meanwhile, Sen. Byrd has put customs and duties language in a pending appropriations bill -- a red flag to those who know how such "placeholder" language could be expanded at the last minute to revive his 2000 act.