President Joe Biden vetoed bipartisan legislation Tuesday passed to punish China for violating trade rules and protect U.S. solar manufacturers. All four Granite State Democrats in Congress sided with Biden and against higher tariffs on Chinese solar companies.
The legislation was in response to Biden’s handling of a finding by his own Commerce Department that Chinese solar companies, all with ties to the Communist Chinese regime, moved production to Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam in order to evade U.S. tariffs. The Commerce Department issued a ruling imposing tariffs on these solar products, which Biden halted. Instead, he’s ordered his Department of Commerce not to enforce the tariffs for two years.
Republicans, joined by Democrats concerned about U.S. manufacturing jobs, passed legislation overruling Biden’s decision and imposing the tariffs as required by law.
“Ohioans are manufacturing solar panels that can power our economy,” said progressive Democrat Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) during the Senate debate. “They just need a level playing field. You can’t say you want American manufacturing to lead the world, while allowing Chinese companies, often subsidized by the Chinese government, to skirt the rules and dump solar panels into the U.S.
“This comes down to whose side you’re on: Do you stand with workers in Ohio, or do you stand with the Chinese Communist Party?” Brown added.
New Hampshire Senators Hassan and Shaheen disagreed, voting to keep Chinese solar tech headed to the U.S. tariff free.
Supporters of the Biden policy say America’s solar power industry relies on cheap Chinese products, particularly for the green energy projects Biden hopes will replace fossil fuel.
“The solar and storage industry must build more manufacturing capacity in America, and the two-year tariff moratorium provides a bridge for us to do just that,″ Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, told the Associated Press. “Curbing supply at this critical time (would) hurt American businesses and prevent us from deploying clean, reliable energy in the near-term.″
Critics say American taxpayers have already ponied up some $400 million for green tech subsidies in the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act,” and giving China a pass proves many of those dollars will wind up in China. China currently controls more than 80 percent of the global solar panel market, The International Energy Agency reports.
“I am disappointed that President Biden vetoed this important legislation,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mish.), one of the co-sponsors of the House bill, said Tuesday. “Failing to stand up to those who engage in unfair trade practices hurts American workers and manufacturers. Our workers and businesses will never be able to compete globally unless we hold those who violate U.S. trade laws accountable.”
A Morning Consult poll taken last year found 70 percent of Americans supported tariffs on Chinese imports, and an additional 61 percent said increased imports had led the United States to become too dependent on China for critical goods in the supply chain.
Senators Hassan and Shaheen declined to respond to questions about their vote against the bipartisan legislation.
During his rally in Manchester last month, former President Donald Trump said one reason the Biden administration won’t confront China over its unfair trade practices is that Biden and his family have been bought off.
“Everybody’s paid off by China, including, by the way, our president. It’s a big problem. You wonder why he does nothing about China? Because he got millions of dollars from China,” Trump said.
The Washington Post reports that, according to documents it reviewed, “over the course of 14 months, the Chinese energy conglomerate and its executives paid $4.8 million to entities controlled by Hunter Biden and his uncle.”
During the 2020 campaign, Joe Biden claimed his son “has not made money from China.”
That statement is false.