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 StabenowDemocrats prod Trump Interior nominee over lobbying work McConnell promises women can take part in healthcare meetings Dems request insider trading investigation into top Trump adviser MORE and Carl LevinCarl LevinDemocrats and Republicans share blame in rewriting the role of the Senate For the sake of American taxpayers, companies must pay their fair share What the Iran-Contra investigation can teach us about Russia probe 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 BaucusLawmakers: Leave advertising tax break alone GOP: FBI firing won't slow agenda White House tax-reform push is ‘game changer,’ says ex-chairman MORE (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyIt’s time to rethink prisoner re-entry GOP talks of narrowing ‘blue-slip’ rule for judges Grassley: Don't expect anti-Trump leaks to stop after special counsel appointed MORE (R-Iowa) agreed to work with Sens. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerCongress urges Trump administration to release public transit funding Overnight Tech: FCC begins rolling back net neutrality | Sinclair deal puts heat on regulators | China blames US for 'Wanna Cry' attack Sasse dominates Twitter with Schumer photo, 'reefer' caption MORE (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamDem rep: If you believe in math, you can't believe in Trump's budget Overnight Finance: Inside Trump's first budget | 66 programs on the chopping block | Hearing highlights border tax divide | Labor to implement investment adviser rule Five takeaways from Trump's first budget proposal 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.