Rep. Lipinski Applauds Senate Vote to Fight China's Currency Manipulation and Create Jobs, Urges the House to Follow Suit

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL) applauded the Senate for passing bipartisan legislation to impose tariffs against China and other countries that unfairly manipulate their currency and urged House Republican leaders to allow a vote on a similar bill that passed the House with the support of 99 Republicans last year. The Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act, S. 1619, passed the Senate by a vote of 63 to 35. Ending China’s currency manipulation would create at least 500,000 American jobs, according to economists’ estimates.

“Manufacturers in the Third District and across America have been getting killed by Chinese companies because of currency manipulation that puts them at an enormous disadvantage,” Rep. Lipinski said. “The only thing more unfair than China’s devaluation of its currency is the fact that Washington has let it continue, with no remorse for the American workers and American entrepreneurs who have suffered. Republicans who voted to fight back against currency manipulation last year now have an opportunity to press their leaders for a vote and show that their support last time around wasn’t just for show.”

China’s currency, the renminbi, is undervalued by approximately 25 percent, artificially lowering the price of Chinese-made goods and raising the price of American-made goods. Two recent studies provide fresh evidence of the high cost of unfair trade with China. The Economic Policy Institute found that 2.8 million American jobs have been lost over the last decade due to America’s trade deficit with China, a deficit that owes much to China’s currency manipulation. Illinois was among the hardest hit states, losing more than 118,000 jobs. In addition, a study by economists at MIT and elsewhere found that cheap Chinese imports have wiped out U.S. jobs, depressed wages both inside and outside manufacturing, and driven up costs for taxpayers to a far greater extent than some have recognized.

The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, H.R. 639, has 225 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, passed the House last year by a wide margin, and would allow tariffs to be imposed against currency manipulators. Congressman Lipinski is an original cosponsor of the bill, voted for it last year, and has supported similar legislation since he was first elected to Congress.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that unfair trade with China has led to American job losses and mounting costs for taxpayers,” Congressman Lipinski said. “American workers are still the most skilled, productive, and innovative in the world. But they will continue to suffer for as long as our government fails to defend them from currency manipulation by China and others. It’s time for the House to show some backbone, stop taking marching orders from multinational corporations that don’t care whether their factories are in Illinois or Shanghai, and take action to create jobs.”

(October 11, 2011)