On a monthly basis, the US imports about 640 percent more advanced technology products from China than it exports to China, according to the US-China Economic and Security Review commission. The US trade deficit with China accounts for more than half of the US trade deficit with the world.
Views on what is to be done to address this imbalance do not fall out on partisan lines. Senate GOP leaders urged a vote against the bill, and the Club for Growth, which funds primary challenges against Republicans not deemed conservative enough, is pressuring GOP lawmakers to oppose the currency bill.
Still, 16 Republicans, mainly from states hard-hit by job loss, joined all but four Democrats to pass the Senate bill, 63 to 38.
“We are getting hurt in this relationship,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) of Alabama, whose state has lost some 44,300 jobs to China since 2001, according to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute.
In 2010, the House, then controlled by Democrats, passed a similar currency bill with broad bipartisan support. Ninety-nine Republicans, notably not including top leaders, voted with all but five Democrats to pass the measure, 348 to 79. It failed to get to a vote in the Senate.