Politics

House votes to overturn Biden’s solar tariff moratorium

ProDentim

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Bipartisan support raises the stakes ahead of a Senate vote on the measure, where several Democrats have already said they will vote to cancel Biden’s two-year hiatus announced last June.

“This is about protecting American workers, American jobs, and holding China accountable,” the rep said. Jason Smith (R-Mo.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The White House said Biden intends to veto the resolution if he reaches his desk, and Friday’s vote in the House showed his supporters were likely to fall short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.

Context: The measure would rescind Biden’s moratorium on new import tariffs on solar cells and modules from Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, which was issued amid a Commerce Department investigation aimed at determine whether the companies were circumventing existing tariffs on China by mixing products across the four of the countries.

Commerce released preliminary results in December indicating the companies were indeed circumventing tariffs. A final decision is expected later this year, but given the two-year pause, any new rights resulting from this decision will not be collected until mid-2024.

The subsequent CRA resolution – introduced by bipartisan lawmakers in the House – reignited tensions around the Trade investigationsolar industry officials warning the threat of retroactive duties will cost jobs and shut down planned projects.

“The reality is that in the past we have allowed China to have a dominant position. We don’t want that,” Rep. Count Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a ranking member of the Ways and Means Commerce Subcommittee, during floor remarks Friday.

But, he added, if the proposal passes, it would “punish American workers, punish American companies and set us back on our climate goals.”

Supporters of the resolution, however, say the measure aims to hold China accountable for violating US trade law, in turn supporting domestic manufacturers by leveling the playing field.

And after: The Senate could take its resolution of disapproval, SJ Res. 15 (118), from next week. Under the ARC, the resolution only requires a simple majority vote to pass.

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