Thursday, March 21, 2013

Boehner Protecting Chinese Currency Manipulation Again?


When China can undervalue its currency, they can flood the U.S. market with "cheap" goods and destroy industries and, obviously, capture good-paying American manufacturing jobs. Also, that undervalued currency rate means U.S. goods become artificially and prohibitively expensive when entering the Chinese market. U.S. manufacturers-- and workers-- get killed both ways. Wall Street has no preference for profits that come from American manufacturing or Chinese manufacturing-- it's all the same for them-- and their bought-and-paid-for agents in Congress have been perfectly happy with this arrangement. Wall Street shills in both parties have consistently prevented effective action against Chinese currency manipulation and this effort has been led by Members who have personally enriched themselves with shady dealings with China, particularly McConnell and Boehner.

Four Members of Congress, willing to stand up to China and Wall Street, have proposed legislation to deal with the problem-- again. Sander Levin (D-MI), Tim Murphy (R-PA), Tim Ryan (D-OH), and Mo Brooks (R-AL) have reintroduced the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act. Levin introduced the bill in February, 2011-- basically to "amend title VII of the Tariff Act of 1930 to clarify that countervailing duties may be imposed to address subsidies relating to a fundamentally undervalued currency of any foreign country." Boehner immediately sent it to an unheralded death by bottling it up in the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by his crony, sleazy Michigan closet case Dave Camp. This morning, Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing told us that he finds it "hard to imagine why John Boehner stands with Beijing dictators and multinational outsourcers when a strong majority of Republican voters, and his own caucus, support the China currency bill. Here’s a bill that creates jobs, doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime, and strengthens our economy. Whose side is Boehner on: the Beijing dictators or ours?"

If you were unaware how much money China has funneled into the Republican Party via the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Sheldon Adelson it might seem odd that Boehner and the GOP Establishment has been blocking this legislation. It could be a very useful and, for a change, legitimate cudgel for them to use against Obama, who has made it clear he's not going to pressure China on currency manipulation issues. And it's a concept heavily supported by voters (62%)... and even more heavily supported by Republican voters (68%)!

Andy Hounshell is an Ohio steel worker from Middletown who is also the vice president of his union local. A desire to join fellow Ohio Democrats Rep. Tim Ryan and Senator Sherrod Brown in fighting back against unfair trade policies helped push him to run against John Boehner. "American workers can compete with anyone as long as they are playing by the same rules," he told us earlier today. "This sounds like a bill that would force foreign currency manipulators to do just that. Hopefully this is something that will finally drive some members of our Congress from their partisanship, and actually help the working people of this country. Treating undervalued currency as an actionable subsidy would be a good start to filling in the gap in the trade deficit. I know Tim Ryan has been working on this with Sander Levin and a number of Republicans, and it is, in effect, a job-creation bill that most Members of Congress-- across the aisle-- backed last year. John Boehner shouldn't be using his prerogatives as Speaker to prevent a simple up or down vote in the House on something this crucial to so many working families. He's not only out of step with American voters, he's out of step with his own Republican congressional caucus. In 2012, the U.S. trade deficit with China reached a new record-- $315 billion and this trade deficit has cost 2.7 million U.S. jobs between 2001 and 2011. If I'm elected, this is literally something I can put a stop to just because of who I'll be replacing."

The folks who don't want to see fair trade bills get a straight up vote in Congress have helped raise millions of dollars for Boehner's disgraceful political career. Last year-- without having to face an opponent-- he spent $21,197,801. And right now he has $952,828 in his campaign chest already. If you'd like to help Hounshell even out the playing field a little, you can do that here and you can read a guest post he did for us Monday here.

So far, here's a list of early supporters of the bill. Each is a first-day co-sponsor; this is the kind of bipartisanship that works-- even if Boehner and his team are opposing it:

Mo Brooks (R-AL)
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Howard Coble (R-NC)
Morgan Griffith (R-VA)
Gregg Harper (R-MS)
Bill Johnson (R-OH)
Walter Jones (R-NC)
Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
David McKinley (R-WV)
Pat Meehan (R-PA)
Tim Murphy (R-PA)
Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
Michael Turner (R-OH)
Don Young (R-AK)
John Conyers Jr. (D-MI)
Jim Cooper (D-TN)
Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
Pete DeFazio (D-OR)
John Dingell (D-MI)
William Enyart (D-IL)
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
Brian Higgins (D-NY)
Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Bill Foster (D-IL)
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Sander Levin (D-MI)
Daniel Lipinski (D-IL)
Stephen Lynch (D-MA)
Michael Michaud (D-ME)
George Miller (D-CA)
Bill Owens (D-NY)
Mark Pocan (D-WI)
Charlie Rangel (D-NY)
Tim Ryan (D-OH)
Allyson Schwartz (D-PA)
Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH)
Louise Slaughter (D-NY)
Peter Visclosky (D-IN)
Peter Welch (D-VT)

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