–House Expected To Approve Temporary Spending Bill To Fund Gov
–Senate Supporters of China FX Bill Secure Big Win On Procedural Vote
–In Monday Procedural Vote, Senate Voted 79 to 19 To Begin Debate
By John Shaw
WASHINGTON (MNI) – The House is expected to pass later Tuesday a
temporary funding bill to keep the federal government running for six
more weeks while the Senate will return to its debate on a currency bill
that is directed at China.
Following the Senate, the House is poised to pass and send to
President Obama a stop-gap spending bill for the 2012 fiscal year that
will fund the federal government until Nov. 18.
The stop-gap bill is needed because Congress has not passed any of
the 12 annual spending bills for FY’12 which began Oct. 1. The White
House and Congress agree that $1.043 trillion will be allocated in FY’12
for discretionary programs, but still differ on how those funds should
be allocated among the various cabinet agencies.
The Senate approved the FY’12 stop-gap spending bill last week.
Meanwhile, the Senate will return to its debate on currency
legislation that is largely directed at China.
On Monday evening, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to formally
begin debate on the bill. The vote to begin debate on the bill was 79 to
Sixty votes were needed to begin the Senate debate.
It is unclear how many amendments may be offered to the underlying
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he wants the Senate to
complete work on the China currency bill this week.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of the main sponsors of the bill, has said
he is confident the bill will pass the Senate easily and predicted
Senate passage would give the bill a boost in the House.
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
House Republican leaders have expressed skepticism about
legislation directed at China’s currency regime, arguing it takes an
approach to the U.S. trade relationship with China that is too narrow.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor declined to say earlier Monday if
the House would take up currency legislation, saying he is “curious” to
see the administration’s position on the bill.
** Market News International Washington Bureau: (202) 371-2121 **