House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday came out in opposition to a Senate measure that would put greater pressure on China and other countries to allow their currency to appreciate.
The remarks by Boehner decrease the likelihood that the currency bill, which was moved forward in the Senate late Monday with overwhelming bipartisan support, will receive a vote in the Republican-led House.
“While I’m concerned about the Chinese currency situation, there’s been an awful lot of work done during the last seven or eight years to try to bring its valuation up,” Boehner said at a Tuesday morning news conference after a closed-door conference meeting.
“But I think it’s pretty dangerous to be moving legislation through the United States Congress forcing someone to deal with the value of their currency,” he said. “This is well beyond I think what the Congress ought to be doing, and while I’ve got concerns about how the Chinese have dealt with their currency, I’m not sure this is the way to fix it.”
The Senate voted 79-to-19 Monday night to move forward on the measure, which was sponsored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who have for years called for the United States to press China on the currency issue.
Among the 79 “yes” votes Monday were 31 of the Senate’s 47 Republicans. But House Republican leaders as well as business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have given a cool reception to the measure, arguing that it would ratchet up U.S.-China tensions and potentially lead to a trade war.
House Democrats have been working to round up support for a “discharge petition” that would require GOP leaders to bring the currency measure to the floor if it passes the Senate as expected later this week. So far, though, they remain short of the 218 signatures necessary to force a vote.