Biden Paused Tariffs on Solar Panels, House Reverses Decision

( – House Democrats joined forces with Republican representatives across the aisle April 28, 2023 to repeal the suspension of tariffs to four countries with the resolution passing 221-202 under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) allowing congress to review and overturn federal rules with a simple majority.

Twelve Democrats in the House joined their counterparts and squashed Biden’s suspension of tariffs to Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. These four countries produce roughly 80% of the US supply of solar cells and modules.

Repealing Biden’s two year pause on the tariffs for the Southeast Asian nations gained bipartisan support and agreement that it will hold China to account for U.S. trade law violations while simultaneously supporting solar cells manufactured domestically.

It was June 2022 that President Joe Biden originally paused import tariffs on solar panels and solar modules in an effort to get more of the desirable tech into the U.S. speedily.

When the moratorium on the tariffs originally came down from the administration an investigation by the Commerce Department into these countries was ongoing. The department considered the four countries may be acting as conduits for products from China and thereby circumventing China’s own tariffs. A final decision about the findings is expected in August 2023.

The investigation has since hampered and slowed the pace of the nation’s large scale renewable energy projects that need to reach growth targets at a more rapid clip to meet Biden’s agenda to eliminate carbon emissions by 2035 in the U.S. power sector.

Some in the solar industry disagree with the repeal and warn that lifting the two year tariff suspension will increase overall costs, eliminate jobs, and slow development of clean energy facility projects.

According to Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D. Ore), a member of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, said on the House floor that the repeal wouldn’t help and ultimately “would punish American workers” and “set us back on our climate goals.”

Rep. Bill Posey (R. ) said that it represents a “big win for American solar manufacturers” and their employees.

The resolution will head to the Democrat controlled Senate for a vote. The Biden administration opposes the repeal and promised to veto the effort.

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