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Senate rebukes Biden with vote to restore solar panel tariffs

The upper chamber approved the resolution in a 56-41 vote.

Published: May 3, 2023 6:39pm

Updated: May 3, 2023 6:59pm

The Democrat-controlled Senate delivered a rebuke to President Joe Biden on Wednesday, passing a resolution to repeal his two-year moratorium on Chinese solar panel tariffs.

The upper chamber approved the resolution in a 56-41 vote.

Passed in the House with bipartisan support, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution would resume taxes on Chinese solar manufacturers after a Commerce Department investigation found that the operations were being re-routed through at least four Southeast Asian entities in order to avoid paying U.S. tariffs.

Multiple U.S. Senators delivered remarks on the Senate floor as a last-ditch effort to get their colleagues to support or reject the bill. One Senator, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, also urged his fellow Senators to reject the legislation in order to combat climate change, claiming that "[w]ithin 30 years" the world "looks like it's going to be a nightmare." Another, Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet, argued that imposing the tariffs on the Chinese solar panels would be "surrendering" to the communist nation.

Republican Senators like Rick Scott, however, supported the legislation on the grounds that "slave labor" should not be rewarded and that "the only entities that will pay tariffs are Chinese-affiliated manufacturers.”

The bipartisan resolution now heads to Biden’s desk, where he is expected to veto it upon arrival.

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