Chris Smith claims cobalt bill progress
Rep. Chris Smith said he got a verbal commitment from Majority Leader Steve Scalise that his cobalt imports bill will come to the floor.
Why it matters: A full House vote on the battery sector's dirty cobalt could be a PR problem for EVs and consumer tech products, even if it doesn't become law.
Driving the news: Smith told Axios that Scalise pledged to bring up the bill — which would force a crackdown on Congolese cobalt — without specifying a date.
- "I had a long conversation with him," Smith said. "He likes it a lot."
- Smith's bill would prohibit imports of cobalt "mined using child or forced labor" using Section 307 of the 1930 Tariff Act.
Yes, but: Smith's been bullish on his bill ever since we were first to report on its introduction. But we're still waiting to hear back from Scalise's office to confirm this.
- Moving Smith's bill through the House may require multiple committees to weigh in or waive their authorities, given the wide jurisdiction of its underlying policy changes.
- Smith is revising the bill to put the onus on China, which also funds mining in Congo.
What's next: It feels unlikely we'll see this become a priority until after the House finishes its fights over funding and must-pass authorizations.