Despite passing both the House and Senate in recent weeks, President Joe Biden has vetoed H.J. Res. 39, a measure that would have lifted the president’s two-year moratorium on solar tariffs.
“For too long, because of unfair trade practices and underinvestment in domestic manufacturing, the United States has been reliant on China for solar energy products,” Biden writes in a statement to the House. “We have worked to create good-paying jobs and build manufacturing facilities in the United States for solar energy … But that production will not come online overnight.”
Biden says more than 50 new or expanded solar equipment manufacturing plants have been announced since he took office, and the U.S. is “on track to increase domestic solar panel manufacturing capacity eight-fold” by the end of his first term.
In the meantime, however, tariffs on solar products being imported would jeopardize the momentum the U.S. solar industry is building, Biden contends.
“Passage of this resolution bets against American innovation. It would undermine these efforts and create deep uncertainty for American businesses and workers in the solar industry,” the president states.
Industry stakeholders and trade groups have applauded the president’s veto.
“The Commerce Department’s solar tariff case effectively shut down the solar industry last spring, and the short-term tariff pause was strategically implemented to both allow project development to continue and create a bridge to a domestic manufacturing future,” says Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
“This strategy could not have come at a better time as the U.S. is experiencing an avalanche of solar manufacturing investment across the country,” she adds. “President Biden’s veto has helped preserve our nation’s clean energy progress and prevented a bill from becoming law that would have eliminated 30,000 American jobs, including 4,000 solar manufacturing jobs.”
American Clean Power Association CEO Jason Grumet echoes the sentiments about the “misguided, job-killing legislation.”
“Our nation’s solar industry has already announced billions of dollars in investments focused on building a strong and resilient domestic solar supply chain. The imposition of punitive retroactive tariffs – which would have been borne by U.S. companies and workers – would have jeopardized those investments,” he says.
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Author: Michael Bates