The Senate briefly set aside partisan conflict on Tuesday to overwhelmingly approve legislation to retaliate against China’s undervalued currency.
The legislation to use punitive tariffs to offset damages caused by Chinese currency manipulation passed the Senate in a wide 63 to 35 vote. But the bill is now likely headed to indefinite purgatory without consideration in the House.
Many Democrats said they hoped the strong bipartisan vote would add to the growing momentum and support they have cultivated in the lower chamber. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, capitalized on the broad support in the Senate to recruit 224 co-sponsors for a similar bill in the House.
But House GOP leaders haven’t given any signs they are ready to reconsider their position that such aggressive legislation could spark a trade war.
Many business leaders, economists and Republican leaders argue that using tariffs to punish China for just one element of the ongoing trade imbalance would damage U.S. business interests. Their powerful opposition could quickly grind progress on the bill to a halt.