Nearly all House Democrats, along with eight House Republicans, helped tank an effort to override President Joe Biden’s veto of a bipartisan plan that would have restored United States tariffs on China-made solar panels.
In June 2022, Biden announced a 24-month tariff moratorium on solar panel imports from Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Commerce Department officials suspect that the solar panels are actually made in China but have been routed through the four southeast Asian nations to avoid U.S. tariffs on China-made solar panels.
The suspension of tariffs came even as Biden’s Commerce Department found that BYD Hong Kong rerouted its production through Cambodia, Canadian Solar and Trina through Thailand, and Vina Solar through Vietnam for the sole purpose of avoiding the tariffs.
This week, after Biden vetoed a House and Senate-approved plan to reinstate the tariffs on solar panel imports, 197 House Democrats and eight House Republicans voted to help the administration stave off the tariffs.
The only Republicans to oppose overriding Biden’s veto were the same group that initially joined most Democrats to oppose restoring the tariffs:
- Rep. John Curtis (R-UT)
- Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY)
- Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY)
- Rep. Nicholas LaLota (R-NY)
- Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY)
- Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY)
- Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA)
- Rep. Marcus Molinaro (R-NY)
“[Failing to override Biden’s veto] says that we will allow trade cheating, we want cheap stuff at any cost, we don’t really care about forced labor, we don’t care about dirty coal being used to make the panels that take 10 years of use to offset the dirty coal that went into them,” Michael Stumo, the CEO of the Coalition for a Prosperous America told Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO).
“This 24-month moratorium … of those tariffs is not temporary. It’s permanent because they’re building wafer plants there in order to comply and not be found to circumvent [tariffs] later, so we’ll get solar from those countries forever, not just temporarily,” Stumo said.
From 2001 to 2018, U.S. free trade with China eliminated 3.7 million American jobs from the economy — 2.8 million of which were lost in American manufacturing. During that same period, at least 50,000 American manufacturing plants closed down.
Those massive job losses have coincided with a booming U.S.-China trade deficit. In 1985, before China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S. trade deficit with China totaled $6 billion. In 2019, the U.S. trade deficit with China totaled more than $345 billion.