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House passes CRA solar tariff repeal

Apr 28, 2023
workers installing solar panels

Workers install solar panels at the Port of Los Angeles. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The House this morning passed a measure to repeal President Biden’s pause on tariffs for solar panels from four Southeast Asian countries.

  • Why it matters: Biden said he’ll veto it, but solar companies have been fretting about bipartisan support for a move that could be hugely damaging to parts of the industry.

Driving the news: Twelve Democrats joined most Republicans to pass the Congressional Review Act resolution through the House in a 221-202 vote.

  • It’s expected to get a vote as soon as next week in the Senate, where it will see similar bipartisan support.
  • But it didn’t get enough Democrats for a veto-proof majority in the lower chamber — and eight Republicans voted "no," showing the unusual coalitions that have emerged over tariffs and renewable manufacturing.

Context: The Commerce Department, in a preliminary finding last year, said companies have been using facilities in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to circumvent U.S. tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels.

  • Biden preemptively issued a two-year waiver on levies from those nations, arguing that the solar industry needs a grace period to onshore some of that manufacturing.
  • If the waiver were repealed, solar companies would face retroactive fees that industry groups say could exceed $1 billion.
  • But the pause incensed GOP China hawks and some Democrats interested in protecting domestic solar manufacturing.

What’s next: At least three Senate Democrats plan to vote for the CRA resolution when it comes across the Hill: Ron Wyden, Sherrod Brown and Joe Manchin.

  • Wyden, the Finance Committee chair, leads the committee of jurisdiction on tariffs and could be an influential voice in the internal fight among Democrats.
  • "I'm going to vote to protect the American manufacturers. I was opposed to the Biden proposal from the beginning," Wyden told reporters.
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