Ohio Dem to Boehner: Check with your district on China bill

In recent years, targeting China’s currency has been popular among officials from both parties in industrial states like Ohio.

But Boehner opposed a similar bill that easily passed the House last year. The Speaker said Tuesday that, while he was concerned about China’s currency policies, he questioned whether lawmakers should try to force Beijing to change the value of the yuan.

And, as a spokesman for Boehner noted Wednesday, the White House has yet to officially weigh in on the proposal.

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“If Sen. Brown believes this legislation is a good idea, why hasn’t he convinced the Obama Administration to support it?” the spokesman, Michael Steel, said in a statement.

The legislation would pave the way for tariffs to be slapped onto certain goods from countries deemed to have kept their currency artificially low. Citing studies, supporters say the measure could create or support millions of jobs.

Critics of the legislation have warned that the bill could spark a trade war with China. Beijing has gone on record as saying the value of its currency is not the major cause of the trade imbalance between China and the U.S.

But Brown dismissed the trade-war argument on Wednesday, as well as blasted the three trade deals that President Obama sent to Congress this week, saying he did not believe supporters’ assertions that those measures would create jobs.

“They understand that we’re not letting them have this free lunch anymore,” the Ohio senator said about China. “So when you take away their dessert, they’re going to be upset.”