Biden Vetoes Bipartisan Bill Protecting US Solar Panel Makers From Chinese Competition

 May 17, 2023

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden vetoed a bipartisan resolution that would have reversed his executive action last year, in which he ordered the Department of Commerce not to enforce tariffs on Chinese solar panel manufacturers for two years. Biden’s position, together with today’s veto, fails to hold China accountable and hurts American workers. Biden again seemingly demonstrates his allegiance to China over the American work force. Tragic but predictable.

The legislation, which recently passed the House and Senate with Democrat support, Biden said-

"bets against American innovation." …adding…"It would undermine these efforts and create deep uncertainty for American businesses and workers in the solar industry. Therefore, I am vetoing this resolution."

-President Joe Biden

Implementing a 24-month moratorium on the enforcement of solar panel tariffs, designed to protect U.S. companies, last year, Biden wrote an executive order that the White House claimed would facilitate investment in domestic solar panel production capabilities. Further, in his veto, Biden added that he doesn't "intend to" extend the tariff suspension when the 24-month moratorium expires in June 2024.

Biden’s executive order, placed a two-year pause on enforcing tariffs on Chinese solar panels, starting June of 2022. Reportedly, his action came after the Commerce Department said months earlier, that it would investigate whether Chinese manufacturers were routing solar panels through countries in Southeast Asia to avoid U.S. tariffs. In December, the agency published its preliminary findings which it showed that four large solar companies were in fact, routing products through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia to circumvent payment of duties.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., and joined by Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., introduced a resolution, in response to the Commerce Department findings. This was in an effort to strike down Biden's action in January.

The lawmakers argued that tariffs were necessary to protect the small, but developing, U.S. solar industry that is dwarfed by Chinese industry. In follow up, and in an effort to support this nations solar industry, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. and co-sponsor Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV. introduced supportive, companion legislation.

The bipartisan resolution, which utilizes the Congressional Review Act, allowing Congress to revoke federal regulations, passed the House in a 221-202 vote on April 28 and then the Senate in a 56-41 vote on May 3. Rep. Kildee, expressing his disagreement with Biden’s veto said-

 "I am disappointed that President Biden vetoed this important legislation," … "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." …adding …"The president’s position, and today’s veto, fails to hold China accountable and hurts American workers,"... "Congress passed this bipartisan resolution with strong support from Republicans and Democrats. Now that the president has vetoed this bill, Congress should once again vote to override today’s veto without delay."

-Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich

According to the International Energy Agency, generally Chinese companies control more than 80% share in the global solar panel industry, reportedly controlling the supply chain in all the manufacturing stages of the product. Additionally, the Chinese solar industry has reportedly been tied to forced labor in China's Xinjiang province.

Congress’s resolution was endorsed by human rights groups like the Uyghur Human Rights Project Environmental groups and pro-tariff groups like the Coalition for a Prosperous America. However, opposing the resolution were green energy organizations such as Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). In its support of Biden’s action in vetoing the bill, Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA's president and CEO, said-

"This action is a reaffirmation of the administration’s commitment to business certainty in the clean energy sector, and a signal to companies to continue creating jobs, building domestic manufacturing capacity and investing in American communities,"

-Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA's president and CEO

While stating that he supports the American work force, Biden literally demonstrates that China’s interests are his priority in this case. His veto, allows China to circumvent tariffs they would otherwise pay – holding them to a more expensive standard, disallowing them to see increased profits here in America, with their products made at the expense of forced labor at home. This has little to do with creating jobs here at home, but more to do with pandering to China, It is yet another example of Biden’s propensity to protect the Chinese over America’s labor force.

Further that he does not care to view this bi-partisan bill as the people’s voice, represented by Congress, as having any consequence, Biden further thumbs his nose at the average American. This is the reality of who Biden represents, the interests of China rather than those of the American working class – despite his fanciful claims and down-home jargon. The truth of his action speaks loud and clear.

Representative Kildee said it best –

“Congress should once again vote to override today’s veto without delay."

-Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich

“When you're dealing with frauds and liars, listen more to what they don't say than what they do.. and Truth is hard, propaganda is cheap.”

-DaShanne Stokes
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