Boehner: Senate's China currency bill a 'dangerous' move

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sharply criticized Senate legislation to target China over the valuation of its currency, calling it “a pretty dangerous” move for the Congress to make.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has prioritized the legislation, which would allow U.S. companies to slap tariffs on companies from any country whose currency valuation is deemed to be out of alignment. Leaders in both parties have accused China of intentionally devaluing the yuan to gain an unfair trade advantage.

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A procedural vote on the Senate bill Monday night passed, 79-19, with broad bipartisan support.

“I’m concerned about the Chinese currency situation. There’s been an awful lot of work done over the last seven or eight years to try to bring its valuation up,” Boehner told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday. “But I think it’s pretty dangerous to be moving legislation through the United States Congress forcing someone to deal with the value of their currency. This is well beyond, I think, what the Congress ought to be doing. While I have concerns about how the Chinese have dealt with their currency, I’m not sure this is the way to fix it.”

Critics of the measure have raised questions on whether it would violate U.S. commitments to the World Trade Organization. Many of the legislation’s co-sponsors however assert that it would be WTO compliant.

The White House has previously opposed bills targeting China for alleged currency manipulation, yet the administration has not taken an official position on the Senate measure.