–In Close Vote, Senate Votes To End Debate On China Currency Bill
–Sen. Reid: Sees Final China FX Vote Thursday or Friday
–Sen. McConnell: GOP ‘Divided’ on China Currency Bill
–House Speaker Boehner Remains Strongly Opposed To Currency Bill
By John Shaw
WASHINGTON (MNI) – The U.S. Senate Thursday voted narrowly to end
the debate on China currency legislation, paving the way for its final
The vote to end the Senate debate was 62 to 38, with 60 votes
needed to end the debate.
After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that while
the Senate still has up to 30 hours to debate the measure and vote on
certain motions, he is determined to complete action on the bill
Thursday or Friday.
“We have to finish the legislation this week,” Reid said, adding
that he would strongly prefer the debate and vote “not spill over until
The Senate vote was much closer than an earlier procedural vote
Monday to begin debate. The vote Monday to formally begin the Senate
debate was 79 to 19.
During the Thursday vote, a number of Republican senators shifted
their votes into opposition to the bill.
Several Republican senators have derisively referred to the bill as
the “China Trade War Act of 2011.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has acknowledged the China
currency bill has created rifts among Republican senators.
“My party was divided on this issue,” McConnell said Thursday after
Republican senator Bob Corker has said that some in the Senate are
supporting the bill in the expectation that it will be defeated in the
Sen. Chuck Schumer, the lead Democratic sponsor of the China
currency bill has said a strong Senate vote would compel the House to
take up the bill.
The White House has not yet taken a position on the Senate currency
House Speaker John Boehner came out firmly against currency
“I think it is pretty dangerous to be moving legislation through
the United States Congress forcing someone to deal with the value of
their currency,” he said.
“This is well beyond I think what the Congress ought to be doing,
and while I’ve got concerns about how the Chinese have dealt with their
currency, I’m not sure this is the way to fix it,” he said.
House Republican leaders have signalled that they are unlikely to
take up currency legislation this year, even if it’s passed by the
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
** Market News International Washington Bureau: (202) 371-2121 **