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- Axios reported on Sunday that the Trump administration had drafted a bill that would abandon the US’s commitment to the World Trade Organization’s rules.
- But it’s the acronym of the draft legislation that has caught the attention of Twitter.
- It is called the United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act, but many have shortened it to the “FART Act.”
- The White House told Axios the draft bill was not “actual legislation that the administration was preparing to rollout.”
Axios reported on Sunday about a “stunning” piece of legislation drafted by the Trump administration – but it’s the draft bill’s acronym that has caught the attention of Twitter.
The draft legislation would empower the president to ignore international trade rules set by the World Trade Organization, Axios said. It would essentially allow President Donald Trump to unilaterally raise tariffs without the approval of Congress.
It is called the United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act. But several people, including former White House staffers and journalists, have shortened it to the “FART Act.”
Anthony Scaramucci, who was Trump’s communications director for 10 days last year, said the draft bill “stinks” because it would ask US consumers to pay for tariffs.
WTO has its flaws, but the “United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act," aka the U.S. FART Act, stinks. American consumers pay for tariffs. Time to switch tactics. https://t.co/OfyOFA1neU
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) July 2, 2018
Others were quick to point out the unfortunate acronym, including Axios’ Jonathan Swan, who broke the story about the draft legislation.
The Mooch weighs in on the FART Act of 2018. https://t.co/bEJCF1SLve
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) July 2, 2018
Did they name it the “FART Act” to troll the president? https://t.co/kqTqzlOD0X
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) July 2, 2018
Some have even suggested that a White House staffer was in on the joke while naming the draft bill, or even that it was a deliberate act of subversion.
US FART Act is just, well, thanks for the smile, nameless WH bureaucrat!
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) July 2, 2018
But the story could vanish as quickly as it arrived.
Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, told Axios that the bill was not “actual legislation that the administration was preparing to rollout,” adding: “Principals have not even met to review any text of legislation on reciprocal trade.”
Walters did, however, reiterate Trump’s frustrations with the existing trade system, which he sees as unfair to the US.
“It is no secret that POTUS has had frustrations with the unfair imbalance of tariffs that put the US at a disadvantage,” she told Axios. “He has asked his team to develop ideas to remedy this situation and create incentives for countries to lower their tariffs. The current system gives the US no leverage and other countries no incentive.”
According to Axios, most of the officials who wrote the draft bill believe it is untenable and essentially “dead on arrival.” Trump would not be able to withdraw the US from the WTO without the approval of Congress.