Michigan senators take aim at subsidized China exports

Michigan’s two Democratic senators will introduce legislation today that would make it easier to impose anti-subsidy tariffs on imports from China and other countries found to be manipulating their currency.

Sens. Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowA guide to the committees: Senate Trump's pick to lead Medicare won't say if she supports negotiating prices with drug companies Overnight Finance: Fed chief tries to stay above partisan fray | Bill would eliminate consumer agency | Trump signs repeal of SEC rule on foreign payments MORE and Carl LevinCarl LevinA package proposal for repatriation Silencing of Warren another example of hyperpartisan Senate GOP going nuclear over Gorsuch might destroy filibuster forever MORE will join Sens. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) in sponsoring the Fair Currency Act, which would allow U.S. producers to petition for duties on imports from countries found to have currency misalignment. Other members also may sign on as cosponsors before the legislation is announced at a press conference this morning, one source familiar with the bill said.

The bill could divide the Senate Finance Committee, as its chairman and ranking member are working on separate China trade legislation that some observers do not expect to go as far as the approach backed by the Michigan senators. Stabenow, Bunning and Snowe all are Finance members, and a fourth member, Sen. Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerObama to preserve torture report in presidential papers Lobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner MORE (D-W.Va.), has introduced his own currency bill.

Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax BaucusFive reasons why Tillerson is likely to get through Business groups express support for Branstad nomination The mysterious sealed opioid report fuels speculation MORE (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGOP senator grilled over DeVos vote during town hall Big Pharma must address high drug prices ­ObamaCare fix hinges on Medicaid clash in Senate MORE (R-Iowa) agreed to work with Sens. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerDean: Schumer's endorsement 'kiss of death' for Ellison How the candidates for DNC chair stack up ahead of Saturday's vote DNC candidate Harrison drops out, backs Perez for chairman MORE (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report Back to the future: Congress should look to past for Fintech going forward CNN to host town hall featuring John McCain, Lindsey Graham MORE (R-S.C.) after the latter two agreed to hold back legislation last year that would have imposed a 27 percent tariff on Chinese goods due to currency manipulation.

Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) have introduced companion legislation in the House. Both the new Hunter-Ryan bill and the Senate legislation to be introduced tomorrow are similar to a Hunter-Ryan bill that won 178 cosponsors last year, but never received a floor vote.

Supporters of the approach think the chances of passage have increased now that Democrats are in charge of the House. An effort to force a floor vote in 2005 on the Hunter-Ryan bill was defeated on a party-line vote in the House Rules Committee, with Republicans voting against a rule to allow a vote.

The issue of currency manipulation has divided the manufacturing community, with many small and mid-sized companies, including members of the China Currency Coalition, voicing support for Hunter-Ryan, but larger multinational companies lining up in opposition.

In Michigan, the United Autoworkers are members of the China Currency Coalition, but U.S. auto companies have not been advocates for legislation imposing penalties on China for currency manipulation. Auto companies have pressed the administration to put pressure on Japan for alleged currency manipulation.