Senate to vote on China currency sanctions

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Senate to vote on China currency sanctions

CBS News – Senate legislation penalizing China for promoting exports by keeping its currency undervalued is headed for a final vote in the Senate, putting the Beijing government on notice that U.S. lawmakers are fed up with Chinese trade policies that undercut American manufacturers and take away jobs.

A bipartisan majority that supports the legislation coming to a vote Tuesday evening says forcing China to appreciate its currency could put large numbers of Americans back to work.

The theme of crafting trade policy to create jobs will also be played out Tuesday and Wednesday as the House and Senate vote to approve free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. The trade deals have been pending since the last Bush presidency, but the Obama administration and a majority of Congress are now in accord that the deals, particularly with Korea, will be a boon both to American exports and job growth.

The currency bill “has the potential to create or save around 2 million jobs, without cost to taxpayers, because it is simply standing up for American companies and American workers,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, a chief sponsor of the currency measure.

Despite its popularity in the Senate, the bill faces an uncertain future: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, opposes it and may never bring it to the House floor. President Obama and the White House, while avoiding a position on the bill, have warned against unilateral action that might violate international trading rules. American companies doing business in China say it could spark a trade war.

But with the trade deficit with China hitting $273 billion last year and heading toward $300 billion this year, senators said it was time to get tough.

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