After instituting an executive action last year that ordered the Department of Commerce not to enforce tariffs on Chinese solar panel manufacturers for 2 years, President Joe Biden on Tuesday vetoed a bipartisan measure that would have reversed his executive action.
According to Biden, the legislation which was backed by Democrats in the House and Senate, "bets against American innovation." The president's executive action last year was designed to protect U.S. companies and to facilitate investment in American solar panel production capabilities, according to a report from Fox News.
"Passage of this resolution bets against American innovation," Biden said in a statement. "It would undermine these efforts and create deep uncertainty for American businesses and workers in the solar industry. Therefore, I am vetoing this resolution," he added.
Biden also noted that he does not "intend to" extend the tariff executive action upon its expiration next June.
The executive action came after the Commerce Department previously announced that it would be investigating whether or not Chinese solar panel manufacturers were sending panels through Southeast Asian countries to avoid U.S. tariffs. The investigation found in December that 4 major solar companies had routed panels through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia to avoid tariffs.
The Commerce Department's final findings are expected to be released this month.
As a result of the December findings, Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) led a group of bipartisan lawmakers along with Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) to introduce a measure to remove Biden's January executive action. The lawmakers argued that tariffs were critical for protecting the young U.S. solar industry. Companion legislation was also introduced by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and was co-sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).
The resolution uses the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to revoke federal regulations. The measure passed the House by 221-202 in April and the Senate with a 56-41 vote in May.
On Tuesday Kildee said of Biden's action, "I am disappointed that President Biden vetoed this important legislation," adding, "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."
"The president's position, and today's veto, fails to hold China accountable and hurts American workers," he said.
"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," Kildee concluded.
According to the International Energy Agency, China dominates over 80% of the solar panel industry and controls the supply chain in all stages of the manufacturing process.
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