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Taking on Currency Manipulators

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Donnelly) for 5 minutes.

Mr. DONNELLY of Indiana. Madam Speaker, I rise today because it has been weeks since the bipartisan majority in the Senate passed legislation to take on currency manipulators. Weeks have passed, and House leadership has refused to allow a stand-alone up-or-down vote on currency manipulation legislation right here in the House of Representatives. Legislators from both sides of the aisle talk about the importance of creating jobs every day. Why wouldn't we take this opportunity to work together to not only create jobs but to also protect the good-paying jobs we already have here in America?

Recently, the Peterson Institute for International Economics concluded that China's currency is undervalued by 24 percent against the dollar. That means that America's manufacturers are competing with Chinese manufacturers who are enjoying a permanent 24 percent off sale. Isn't it time to do something about these problems, problems that are damaging the U.S. economy, and to stand up for American manufacturers?

When countries are allowed to keep the values of their currencies artificially low and, in turn, the price of their exports into the United States, American companies face an unfair disadvantage. American companies are currently playing on an unlevel playing field where their competitors are able to maintain a permanent sale on all the products they sell. As our trade deficit increases with countries like China, we lose American jobs. In fact, the Economic Policy Institute released a study this fall showing that, between 2001 and 2010, the U.S. lost 2.8 million jobs, including nearly 62,000 jobs in my own State of Indiana, as a result of the expanding trade deficit with China.

The Senate has already acted on this issue. It passed the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act in October. The passage of this bill assures that correcting unfair trade practices is not a Democrat or a Republican issue--rather, it's an American priority. Sixteen Republican Senators joined 47 Democrat Senators in voting for this bill to counter the currency manipulation that is damaging our economic recovery. In a time of too much partisan bickering, we need to take the opportunity to work together and stand up for American businesses and American workers. That's what we were sent here to do.

In addition to the Senate-passed bill, we have a piece of legislation, which is waiting for a vote right here in the House, with 225 cosponsors of both Republicans and Democrats. That's more than a majority. The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act would allow the Department of Commerce to counter imports, made cheaper by currency manipulation, with a corresponding tariff. A nearly identical bill passed the House last year with 348 votes. The support is here. We just need to take this vote.

When I travel around north central Indiana, I often hear from small businesses and manufacturers on this issue, and they never ask that Congress guarantee their success. They simply ask for a level playing field and to have the rules the same for everybody. All they want is a fair fight.

So, today, I echo my request from 2 months ago to the House leadership: It is time. It is time for bipartisan legislation that addresses currency manipulation and to have a vote on it here in the House of Representatives--a stand-alone up-or-down vote.

As I said then and as I'll say again to our House leadership: Who do you stand with, the Chinese Government or the American workers? It is time to stand up for our country--for all of the people who work in our country and for all of our citizens. Let's have a vote.

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