WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A group of Democrats broke with President Joe Biden and sided with Republicans on a measure to put solar panel import tariffs back in place for four Asian countries.
On Wednesday, a Biden policy suffered a rare bipartisan rebuke, when the Senate passed Sen. Rick Scott’s resolution to stop the freeze on certain solar panel tariffs.
“Chinese companies have been giving everything. They need to dominate the solar market,” Scott said.
Last year, the Biden administration put a temporary freeze on solar panel tariffs in four countries with the intent to accelerate their clean energy agenda by making those products cheaper.
However, some say it’s having other consequences.
“President Biden’s solar emergency declaration is a giveaway to President XI and the Chinese Communist party. It’s a massive gift to a regime that is using slave and child labor,” Scott said.
Several Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the legislation. Sen. Sherrod Brown was one of them.
“We need to stand up to the Chinese Communist party and focus on American workers and making things in this country,” Brown said.
Other Democrats argue these tariffs will actually hurt America’s economy and the move towards clean energy.
“I’ve never seen something as counterproductive as this,” Sen. Michael Bennet said.
He argues the U.S. isn’t ready to transition away from those Asian imports. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto agrees.
“The United States only has capacity to manufacture a small fraction of our domestic solar demand,” Cortez Masto said.
They say extra taxes for foreign products will devastate the U.S. solar industry.
“Tens of thousands of jobs that could go away a billion dollars of tariffs of taxes that are solar industry would have to pay as they’re going out of business,” Bennet said.
Biden is promising to veto the Senate measure, keeping those solar panels tariff-free until June 2024.