House Democrats Seeking to Force Vote on China Currency
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and fellow House Democrats this morning announced their intention to introduce a discharge resolution in order to force a vote on H.R. 639, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act. According to Reuters:
Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday said they would try to force a vote on a China currency bill that House members overwhelmingly approved last year but that died in the Senate. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said party members were circulating a "discharge petition" to force Republicans who control the chamber to bring the bill to the floor. That would require 218 signatures, she said.
AAM applauds this effort, which has become necessary in light of the failure on the part of the Obama Administration to even name China a currency manipulator and House Republican Leadership to bring H.R. 639 to a vote. The continued support of members on both sides of the aisle will be required for this effort to be successful.
In his run for President, then-Senator Barack Obama had harsh words about China's economic practices at an AAM candidate forum in Pittsburgh on April 14, 2008, saying, “Here’s the bottom line, you guys keep on manipulating your currency, we are going to start shutting off access to some of our markets.” However, his Administration has passed on numerous opportunities to even name China as a currency manipulator in its semiannual report to Congress on the currency practices of America's major trading partners.
Meanwhile, House Republican leadership has given no indication that it would bring H.R. 639 to a vote in the 112th Congress. Identical legislation passed late last year in the House by a vote of 348-79 with broad bipartisan support, including 99 Republicans and nearly all Democrats.
The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act would allow the Department of Commerce to take currency manipulation into consideration when calculating subsidies in unfair trade investigations brought by U.S. manufacturing companies and/or U.S. workers. The bill would utilize existing trade laws and has been carefully crafted to meet our international trade obligations. The bipartisan bill is sponsored by Representatives Sandy Levin (MI) and Tim Murphy and currently has 156 cosponsors. The Senate companion bill (S. 328) is sponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown and Olympia Snowe. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and other Senators are nearing introduction of similar legislation.
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