Sen. Charles Schumer predicted success in a Monday vote to take up legislation that would crack down on Chinese currency manipulation.
“We expect a strong bipartisan vote on Monday night, and it will be a bellwether for what we expect to be an overwhelming vote in favor of final passage later in the week,” the New York Democrat said in a conference call today.
The bill is supported by a coalition of Senators from manufacturing states, as well as those from some Southern states who see the measure as a way to halt job losses.
Sessions urged his fellow Republicans in the other chamber to take up the measure, although the bill’s fate in the GOP-led House appears uncertain.
“I think the message is that this country cannot allow the loss of a single job as a result of unfairness in our trading partners,” Sessions said.
The United States has a growing trade deficit with China and the disparity cost about 2.8 million jobs from 2001 to 2010, according to a report released last week by the liberal Economic Policy Institute.
The report alleges that China’s currency manipulation has made the trade deficit worse.
“Increases in U.S. exports tend to create jobs in the United States, and increases in imports tend to lead to job loss,” the report said. “Thus, a growing trade deficit signifies growing job loss. The trade deficit with China is exacerbated by the currency manipulation. Because China has pegged its currency to the U.S. dollar instead of allowing it to fluctuate freely, the yuan has remained artificially low, effectively subsidizing Chinese exports and artificially raising the cost of U.S. exports.”
The conservative Club for Growth has come out against the China currency measure, arguing it could spark a trade war, which would be worse for the economy than the trade deficit.
“This proposal would make it easier for the government to slap punitive tariffs on ‘non-market’ economies — in particular China — if an exporting country’s currency is considered misaligned against the U.S. dollar,” the group warned in a recent release. “This is a disastrous proposal that would increase taxes on American consumers, stall the economic recovery, and spark an ugly trade war that would benefit no one.”
The group told lawmakers that it intends to score Monday’s vote.
The Obama administration has not taken a position on the measure.
Schumer said the bill has addressed some White House concerns by using the term “misaligned” to describe the yuan, rather than the more inflammatory “manipulated” — a move that he said was designed to make the bill World Trade Organization-compliant.
From left, Lisa Peng, daughter of Peng Ming, Grace Ge Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Bingzhang, hold pictures of their imprisoned fathers during a House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building titled “Their Daughters Appeal to Beijing: ‘Let Our Fathers Go!’”
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.