Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) was one of the original sponsors of a resolution (H.R. Res. 39) to repeal the White House’s June 6, 2022, solar emergency declaration. The resolution passed the House and Senate earlier this month. President Biden said he would veto it, which means four Chinese multinational solar companies found guilty of circumventing U.S. trade tariffs would be allowed to ship to the United States without paying anti-dumping and circumventing duty fees. It was an unprecedented gift to Chinese companies flaunting U.S. trade laws under the guise of a potential electricity shortage, and the White House’s professed climate crisis.
On Wednesday afternoon, Kildee made a plea to Democrats in an attempt to override Biden’s veto. He said they did not have to make a “false choice” between fighting climate change by building green energy and protecting U.S. manufacturing from Chinese mercantilism and unfair trade practices.
Kildee said he worked with Biden on new laws like the CHIPS Act and Inflation Reduction Act, which the Democrats said would help solar (and it is helping solar) “but on this particular issue, the president and I disagree.”
Here is his floor speech in its entirety:
“For far too long, bad trade deals and unfair trade practices from other countries have hurt American workers and I believe we need to enforce current trade laws and strengthen our ability to fight unfair trade practices. When companies decide to circumvent our trade laws, there is no doubt that we have to hold them accountable. That is why Congress, with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, acted on our legislation. The Biden administration’s own Commerce Department found they are evading tariffs by circumventing those rules. Yet, the Biden administration suspended tariffs on those companies.
“We have to be thinking of the entire supply chain when we think of solar energy, including polysilicon production. By suspending those tariffs on those who violate our trade laws, we are rewarding the worst behavior and penalizing companies who choose to follow the law. Allowing this to happen will send the message to countries that they can break our trade rules, thus making us more reliant on foreign manufacturing and supply chains, including for our clean energy.
“Addressing climate change is important. Fair trade is important. We can’t be short-sighted in relying on companies who are in violation of U.S. trade laws. It’s a false choice that we can either work to fight climate change or protect American workers. Look, I know this is not simple. It is difficult.
“There will always be this argument to just look the other way, because you can surely get the cheaper product by looking the other way at some of the worst practices in manufacturing on this planet. Of course, it’s going to be cheaper when workers are being exploited; when intellectual property is being stolen; when child labor is being utilized. It will always be cheaper. But it’s wrong. We can’t take the position that for only twenty-four months we are going to look the other way and then after that we will go back and adhere to both principles of protecting the climate and American manufacturing. We can do both right now.”