As GOP senators seek to roll back former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China now that he’s out of office, polling indicates Americans want to keep the harsh policies in place.
“For decades, Congress cut tariffs without much thought. But we cannot continue to do that when it comes to products made in China,” Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “We should do everything possible to move supply chains out of China, but this so-called ‘China bill’ is actually subsidizing manufacturing in Communist China. It’s ridiculous.”
House Republicans are staunchly opposed to Democrats’ proposed bill to bolster American competitiveness against China, potentially complicating their goal of passing legislation by the beginning of March.
White House officials have said that passing the bill before President Joe Biden’s March 1 State of the Union is a top priority, but the House bill is a stark departure from the Senate’s legislation that sailed through on a bipartisan vote in June 2021. And while House Democrats can pass their version without Republican support if nearly all of them vote in favor, there is no guarantee that their bill would reach the 60 votes necessary to pass the Senate.
Further, any House-passed bill would likely head to a conference, where House and Senate leaders would privately meet in an attempt to work out their differences and compromise on a bill that can pass both chambers. Not only would that process require additional time, but Senate Republicans would have great leverage given the chamber’s 60-vote threshold.
Legislation designed to make the U.S. more competitive with China includes millions in appropriations for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
The America COMPETES Act, introduced by House Democrats late Tuesday, is a companion to a bipartisan bill that passed the Senate in June 2021, though the House version lacks Republican support. The bill is designed to increase domestic technological advancement and innovation in order to make the U.S. more competitive with China, and includes $45 billion to ease supply chain disruptions and $52 billion for domestic semiconductor fabrication.