Biden Vows to Veto Joint Resolution on Solar Energy Waivers

( – US President Joe Biden pledged on Monday to veto a bipartisan resolution that would revoke waivers the US Commerce Department granted for solar energy products arriving in the United States from China via four Southeast Asian nations. The commander-in-chief issued his threat to lawmakers after the Ways and Means Committee voted to approve the bipartisan resolution last week.

In a statement, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget said that the bill threatens to undercut the US solar industry and create a “deep uncertainty” for investments and jobs in the solar installation market and supply chain. The budget office also said that President Biden doesn’t plan to extend the waivers on solar imports after June 2024, which is the date when these are scheduled to end. The statement also points out that some parts of this bipartisan resolution will damage these efforts and that the Commerce rule gives a short-term option to guarantee there is a thriving solar installation industry in America that is ready to buy the solar materials that will be created in US factories when these are fully-operational.

The bipartisan resolution highlights the division among Democratic lawmakers who want to keep the solar industry’s access to low-cost components used in its operations, such as wafers and photovoltaic cells, and those who want the White House to take a more aggressive stance against China on trade.

According to preliminary findings of a Commerce investigation published in December, Chinese solar enterprises skirted American import duties. Apparently, they did this by passing their products through four other Asian countries before arriving in the United States. These nations were Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

The bipartisan resolution was created under the Congressional Review, which is a 1996 law that allows lawmakers to overturn decisions made by federal agencies with a simple majority vote in the House and Senate. The measure’s chances of passing both chambers, let alone achieving veto-proof majorities, remain unclear.

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