Ohio Sen. Brown Pushes Revival Of China Currency Bill

Dave Johnson

The “China Currency Bill” has passed the Senate but is stalled in the House by Republican leadership. Republicans are trying to have it both ways on China and manufacturing, saying they want to do something, but blocking doing something. It could come to the floor and pass if just a few of the 60+ Republican cosponsors asked for it. Meanwhile Mitt Romney says he wants to do something about China currency but opposes actually doing something.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is pushing to revive the China Currency bill that has passed the Senate and is being blocked by Republican leadership in the House. Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch: Senate Democrats press Boehner for vote on Chinese currency bill,

More than 20 Democratic senators — including Sherrod Brown of Ohio — are urging House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester, to allow a floor vote on the House on a bill aimed at making U.S. exports more competitive to China.

The bill, which passed the Senate by a 63-35 vote last year, would require the Obama administration to impose tariffs on Chinese exports to the United States if the U.S. Department of the Treasury concludes that China is keeping its currency artifically low. By doing so, critics charge that China can flood the United States with less expensive goods that hurt U.S. manufacturers.

“Legislation is necessary to actually give American businesses and workers tools to fight back,” according to the letter, which was written by Brown.

Greg Sargent at The Plum Line, in Ratcheting up pressure on GOP (and Obama) over China,

Senator Sherrod Brown, the lead sponsor, is organizing to increase the pressure on his fellow Ohioan, John Boehner, to hold a vote on the bill. He is circulating a letter today among fellow Senators, addressed to Boehner, demanding a vote, and noting that a similar version passed in 2010 with the support of 80 House Republicans still in office.

… “I’m confident Obama will sign this bill,” Brown said, adding that his conversations with the White House had persuaded him of this. “This will pass if Boehner schedules it.”

Brown added that the bill, and the ideas behind it, resonate heavily with working class voters, such as those in industrial swing states like Ohio and Wisconsin. “People recognize that trade policy and tax policy have undermined the middle class and manufacturing,” Brown said. “The public knows the game has been rigged.”

Who Is Against?

Polling shows that Americans across the political spectrum overwhelmingly want changes, including a crackdown on currency manipulation, “Buy America” policies, ending tax incentives for offshoring jobs, etc. Yet Republican leadership continues to block action.

So who could possibly be against this? Aside from China, there are a few American interests making a ton of cash off of shipping jobs, factories, industries and our prosperity. Over at FDL, David Dayen writes in, Sherrod Brown Tries to Jump-Start Languishing Currency Manipulation Bill, Which Covers More Than Just China,

The constituency that really doesn’t want to see a currency manipulation bill pass Congress would be multinational corporations, who see value in siting their factories overseas and taking advantage of the low currency to deliver cheap imports.

OK, there is on — giant multinationals. And there is another interest: Wall Street. The “Club For Growth” is a Wall Street front group, that has made the China currency bill a litmus test. Politico: Club for Growth warns GOP on China currency bill,

The influential Club for Growth is pressuring Republican presidential candidates and lawmakers to oppose bipartisan legislation cracking down on China’s currency policies.

The anti-tax, free-market group on Thursday called on GOP presidential contenders to take a stand against the bill, authored by Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), that would slap tariffs on imports from China and other countries that artificially keep their currency low.

And, just this week the Club for Wall Street Growth asked both Presidential candidates to lay off China.

So on one side we have overwhelming support from Americans with both Republicans and Democrats polling up into the 90s. On the other side we have Wall Street, multinational corporations and, of course, China itself. And we have the Republican leadership and Presidential candidate siding with … guess which side? But they are able to block action, and here we are.

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