Congress is taking a stand against President Biden’s decision to allow Chinese solar manufacturers to bypass U.S. tariffs, setting up a showdown over a key part of his administration’s climate agenda.
On Wednesday morning, the House Ways and Means Committee passed a bipartisan resolution that would repeal the executive action suspending tariffs on Chinese solar panels. The resolution passed in a 26–13 vote and sets up a floor vote which is expected to take place early next week and is likely to gain significant Democratic support.
“Today’s resolution is an important step to ensure the United States maintains crucial protections for American workers and our economy as a whole,” said Chairman Jason Smith, R–Mo., in a statement. “Members of the Ways and Means Committee clearly recognize that Congress must act in this instance to hold accountable bad actors in global trade and, in particular, Chinese wrongdoing.”
The resolution comes after the Commerce Department published preliminary findings in December that showed four large solar companies had routed products through Cambodia, Malaysia, and Vietnam to circumvent tariffs. In response, President Biden implemented a 24–month moratorium on the enforcement of anti–circumvention tariffs introduced under the Obama administration to protect U.S. companies.
Republicans such as Rep. Bill Posey, R–Fla., recognize the necessity of holding China accountable for its actions and protecting American workers and the economy. “This use of the Congressional Review Act is in direct conflict with the bipartisan goal of growing America’s domestic solar manufacturing industry,” Posey said.
Solar industry officials who oppose the resolution argue that it would hurt U.S. green energy goals and lead to job reductions. However, a recent study from Cornell University shows that increased domestic solar manufacturing would lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 30%.
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) April 19, 2023