The U.S. House of Representatives came up short in its attempt to override President Joe Biden’s veto of a resolution to eliminate his two-year tariff moratorium on imported solar panels.
The House voted 214-205 on Wednesday, 76 shy of the 290 needed for the two-thirds majority required to override Biden’s veto of H.J. Res. 39 (118). Eight Democrats voted in favor of the veto override and eight Republicans voted against.
“Today’s vote underscores just how unpopular it is to threaten American jobs and undermine energy security,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “The American solar and storage industry is creating opportunities in communities across the country, and re-instituting harmful retroactive tariffs at this juncture would harm business certainty and trigger layoffs, delaying the promise of the Inflation Reduction Act.”
Ross Hopper added that the two-year tariff moratorium serves as “an important bridge” as the solar industry continues to expand domestic manufacturing and strengthen the U.S. solar and storage supply chain.
“With this business certainty in hand, solar companies can get back to building our country’s clean energy future,” she said.
H.J. Res. 39 was drafted by the U.S. House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee, which invoked the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to nullify the tariff pause on solar panels made in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam that using parts and components manufactured in China that are not already subject to an antidumping or countervailing duty order.
The bill passed the House 221-202 on April 28. The Senate followed suit with a 56-41 vote on May 3. The president received the bill on May 9 and vetoed it May 16. A two-thirds majority would have been needed in both chambers of Congress to override the veto.
“I vetoed H.J. Res. 39 because we cannot afford to create new uncertainty for American businesses and workers in the solar industry,” Biden said. “We can and must strengthen our energy security by maintaining our focus on expanding U.S. capacity that is ready to come on line as this temporary bridge concludes in June 2024.”
Biden touted how his “Investing in America” agenda has routed hundreds of billions of dollars to support clean energy investment and create jobs.
“When it comes to solar, since I took office, 51 new and expanded solar equipment manufacturing plants have been announced, and America is now on track to increase domestic solar panel manufacturing capacity eight-fold,” he said. “The fact is, my plan is working.”
— Solar Builder magazine