–Senate Majority Leader Wants To Pass Bill ‘As Quickly As Possible’
–GOP Senator Corker Says Bill Is More Consequential Than Many Realize
–House Republicans Likely To Slow Down Bill, Broaden Debate
By John Shaw
WASHINGTON (MNI) – While the U.S. Senate has been debating China
currency legislation for only about a day, it appears the legislation is
on a very fast track to passage with a final vote likely this week.
In comments on the Senate floor Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid said he is eager to arrange votes on some amendments to the
bill and then move to final passage.
“We need to get these amendments moving as quickly as possible,”
“This is important legislation and we need to expedite it as
quickly as possible,” Reid said.
Republican leaders have not said they want Reid to slow down the
bill and have signalled they are eager to begin debate on pending U.S.
trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said he expects the Senate to take
up the three trade bills next week — after the China currency bill is
Republican senator Bob Corker told reporters Monday he is concerned
that senators have not focused clearly enough on how consequential the
currency bill is.
“They think that it’s sort of a plaything and the president can
make it all right, the president can be the adult and not create trade
war. But that’s not what this bill says: this bill says we have to put
in place tariffs,” Corker said.
The White House has not yet taken a position on the Senate’s
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was decidedly cool to the bill at
a briefing Monday, but declined to take a clear position.
“I’m watching what the Senate is doing; I’m curious as to where the
White House is on that,” he said.
During a hearing of the Joint Economic Committee Tuesday with
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, Rep. Kevin Brady, the GOP
vice chairman, asked Bernanke questions regarding currency legislation.
Brady said many Republicans believe any legislation directed at
China should address the “whole range of trade barriers,” not just
That is the stance that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman
Dave Camp has taken for more than a year.
The Senate legislation requires Treasury to develop a biannual
report to Congress that identifies two categories of currencies: a
general category of “fundamentally misaligned currencies” based on
objective criteria and a smaller group of “fundamentally misaligned
currencies for priority action” that reflect misaligned currencies
caused by clear policy actions by the relevant government.
The bill would automatically threaten economic sanctions if the
Treasury Department finds that a trading partner’s currency is
“misaligned” due to intentional policy actions of a government. In the
past, Treasury has steadfastly declined to label China a currency
Under the Senate legislation, countervailing duties would be
available to any U.S. industry that could demonstrate it has been
“materially injured” by imports from the country with the undervalued
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