The House of Representatives failed on Wednesday to overturn a veto by President Joe Biden of a bill passed by Congress that would repeal his tariff exemptions to solar panels made with Chinese components, which was granted to further his climate agenda.
Both houses of Congress, on May 4, passed a bill to repeal the “Procedures Covering Suspension of Liquidation, Duties and Estimated Duties” issued by the administration, which suspended tariffs on “crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells” – a component of solar panels made using parts from China. Republicans have said that the rule will effectively remove photovoltaic cell tariffs on China – enabling them to ship components to other countries, which then send finished panels to the U.S. – as well as benefit Chinese firms using the “slave labor” of China’s Uyghur Muslim population to make the components. (RELATED: ‘Build Back Beijing’: Biden Waives Solar Tariffs In Massive Win For Chinese Industry)
The vote to overturn the veto was 214-205, garnering a majority of support in the House but well below the two-thirds majority required to overturn a veto under the Constitution. The effort had first passed the Republican-majority House by a vote of 221-202 and the Democratic-majority Senate by a vote of 56-41, garnering bipartisan support in each chamber, even as Biden vowed to veto the bill and did so.
56-41:Senate votes to repeal Commerce Dept rule waiving tariffs on solar parts assembled from 4 SE Asian nations using parts from China. 9Ds Yes:Baldwin Brown Casey Fetterman Manchin Peters Stabenow Tester & Wyden; Paul voted No. Now heads to President Biden who plans to veto it. https://t.co/KUBob7p81j pic.twitter.com/iThtLgBmYX
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) May 3, 2023
The U.S. has currently imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Chinese photovoltaic cells, which were ordered by the Obama Administration in 2012 after finding that China had engaged in anti-competitive practices to manufacture them. Biden had ordered the exemption because of “disruptions to energy markets caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change,” according to a proclamation he issued.
“The Communist Party of China…must not be allowed to dump an inferior product into the United States, and undercut American manufacturing,” said Republican Rep. Bill Posey of Florida, who had sponsored the repeal.
The Senate’s lead sponsor, Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, said that “It’s disgusting that Biden’s actions would shield Chinese solar companies, many of which are using child and slave labor, and allow them to circumvent U.S. trade laws,” adding “If we won’t stand against slave labor and for American jobs, what the hell will we stand for?” in comments to the Daily Caller News Foundation. Posey, meanwhile, told the DCNF that “President Biden is playing right into China’s hands. Every day that the Administration’s solar rule is in effect China gets closer to cornering the solar market.”
By contrast, Democrats claimed that repealing the exemption would lead to “retroactive tariffs” on panels and cut domestic jobs, per remarks from members during a debate before the vote.
Biden has sought to incentivize solar panel manufacturing in the United States, as part of his efforts to reduce oil and gas consumption, with the Democratic-sponsored Inflation Reduction Act creating a 10% tax credit for buying U.S.-made panels. However, most solar panels in America are imported, with China accounting for over 80% of all photovoltaic cells made worldwide, per the International Energy Agency.
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