Skip to content

Chairman Smith Floor Remarks – House Joint Resolution 39 Veto Override

May 24, 2023

As prepared for delivery.

“Two weeks ago, the Ways and Means Committee held a hearing at the port of Staten Island in New York to listen to working Americans who are on the frontlines of the impact of our trade policies.


“Witnesses highlighted for the Committee the troubling reality that the Chinese Communist Party continues to engage in a wide range of unfair trade practices that rip off American workers, farmers, and businesses.


“Today’s resolution highlights one of the most prolific of these unfair practices—massive subsidies for the CCP’s favored industries. Today’s resolution is focused on the solar industry, but make no mistake, the CCP’s industrial policy impacts all sectors of the American economy.


“The United States has had tariffs in place since 2012 – during the Obama Administration – to provide a level playing field for American manufacturers who face unfair competition from unfairly priced and subsidized solar products coming out of China. Now President Biden’s own Commerce Department has found that Chinese companies are shipping products through Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam to avoid paying these same tariffs. China has set up a solar panel export scheme that cheats American workers and consumers.


“Instead of standing up for American manufacturers and workers, the White House rewarded China for exploiting them – by issuing a proclamation that allows the CCP to continue to avoid paying the tariffs they owe for an additional two years.


“The sad truth is, the solar panel industry in China is historically one of the most prolific users of forced labor. This body stood together not too long ago to pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. We should do the same now when it comes to actually standing firm against products and industries which have a proven track record of using such terrible practices.


“Republicans and Democrats in this chamber and the Senate came together to block implementation of the White House proclamation on Solar Panels just a few weeks ago. In doing so, we also sent a message to President Xi: We will not allow China to abuse our trade policies and hurt American workers.


“Unfortunately, President Biden doubled down on his misguided decision and vetoed our efforts.


“America must stand up to China and stand up for our workers.


“Small businesses and U.S. manufacturers already have to deal with inflation, rising interest rates, and a worker shortage. The least Washington can do is level the playing field for American workers competing against Chinese state-subsidized companies.


“China’s unfair trade practices have left behind a trail of shuttered factories, lost jobs, and stolen intellectual property all across America. When we voted to roll back the White House’s misguided decision on solar panel tariffs, Congress spoke with a bipartisan voice. I hope today we can do the same.


“I urge my colleagues to once again support this effort to turn out the lights on China’s economic exploitation.”