The United States House of Representatives voted to reinstate a tariff on imported solar panels.
President Joe Biden blocked the tariff last year to encourage the installation of solar-dependent energy systems. Biden has said he will veto the overturn effort if it survives the Senate.
In total, 221 representatives, including 12 Democrats, voted in favor of the measure while 202 were opposed. Proponents of the tariff would need to win over additional support to be able to override a veto from Biden.
Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed concern about potentially unfair competition from China.
“Some U.S. manufacturers contend that China has essentially moved operations to four Southeast Asian countries — Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia — to skirt strict anti-dumping rules that limit imports from China,” reports AP News. “A Commerce Department inquiry last year found likely trade violations involving Chinese products. Biden halted the tariffs for two years before the Commerce investigation was completed.”
Biden announced a two-year moratorium on the solar panel tariff in June of 2022. He also issued two executive orders to support the expansion of solar panel production and green energy projects.
White House Press Secretary Karine-Jean Pierre said at a briefing on June 6 that Biden would invoke the Defense Production Act “to rapidly expand domestic production of solar panel parts, building insulation, heat pumps, and more.”
“While solar power is the focus, the impact of the order will extend far beyond just solar panels,” reported The Verge at the time of the administration’s announcement. “Heat pumps and building insulation are included in the DPA action, as are transformers and other critical components needed to update the nation’s power grid. The list also includes electrolyzers and related materials used to make hydrogen fuel that the Biden administration hopes will help clean up heavy-duty trucks and steel manufacturing.”
The White House defended the tariff on April 24, arguing that imported solar panels are key to the country’s switch to renewable energy.
“This rule is necessary to satisfy the demand for reliable and clean energy while ensuring Commerce is able to rigorously enforce U.S. trade laws, hold trading partners accountable, and defend U.S. industries and workers from unfair trade actions,” said the White House in a statement, per The Hill. “Passage of this joint resolution would undermine these efforts and create deep uncertainty for jobs and investments in the solar supply chain and the solar installation market.”