By Andrea Salazar
Scholars gathered in Washington today to voice concern over a bill that would crack down on the ability of foreign governments to manipulate their currencies.
The legislation in question is the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act, which passed the Senate last month but faces an uncertain future in the House. Despite strong support from at least one Senate Republican — Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) — House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has openly doubted whether Congress should involve itself in the issue.
The measure, introduced in September by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), was designed to give the federal government more tools to pressure nations, such as China, from devaluing their currencies in order to gain a favorable trade advantage over the U.S.
National Committee on United States-China Relations President Stephen Orlins described the measure as “a bill that really doesn’t make any sense.” He called it a lose-lose for President Obama in that “if he vetoes, [Republicans] continue to attack him as weak on China, and if he signs, our relationship with China goes down the tubes.”
Tao Wenzhao, a senior research fellow at Tsinghua University’s Center for US-China Relations, called the legislation “bad politics.”
“Those politicians probably find China as a convenient scapegoat, but I would say that will not solve the U.S.’ own problems,” Wenzhao said.
Today’s event took place at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington and was timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of former National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger’s first state visit to China.
Originally for Talk Radio News Service.
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