Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced legislation Wednesday to “fight back” against foreign currency manipulation and boost American manufacturing and agriculture.
Sens. Hawley and Baldwin introduced the Competitive Dollar for Jobs and Prosperity Act, which would take the American dollar exchange rate and place a “market access charge” on foreign purchases of American stocks, bonds, and other assets. The senators’ legislation echoes President Donald Trump’s call for a weaker U.S. dollar to help American exports compete with China and other countries.
The legislation would “align” the U.S. dollar by mandating that the Federal Reserve balance the nation’s current account, or a measure of trade imbalances, within the next five years of the bill’s enactment.
The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) believes that bringing the U.S. dollar into “alignment” could add nearly $1 trillion to America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), create five million jobs, and raise more than $2 trillion in tax revenue over six years.
Sen. Hawley said that the bill would create a “powerful new tool” to fight against foreign currency manipulators, as well as revitalize American manufacturing and agriculture. Hawley said in a statement Wednesday:
For decades, China and other currency manipulators have waged financial war on U.S. agriculture and manufacturing to devastating effect. This legislation creates a powerful new tool to fight back against foreign currency manipulators, encourage investment in American jobs, and make our exports more competitive around the world. Our farmers deserve a chance to earn a fair profit on their crops. Our factories deserve a level playing field. With this bill, they will get one.
Sens. Hawley and Baldwin’s offices contended that foreign countries, including China, have manipulated their currencies to boost their exports while making American products more expensive. Further, foreign purchases of American stocks, bonds, and other financial assets drives up the cost of the dollar and puts businesses and workers at an international disadvantage. From this, the trade deficit has skyrocketed, and over 90,000 factories have closed down, resulting in thousands of family farms have closed, and millions of manufacturing jobs have moved overseas.
Baldwin said that her and Hawley’s legislation would set an even playing field for farmers and manufacturers, explaining:
Today, foreign investors have driven up the American dollar, helping Wall Street profit but holding back stronger economic growth. We need reforms that create a competitive American dollar and an even playing field for manufacturers, farmers and workers. This bipartisan fix will increase American exports and boost our manufacturing and farming economy.
Michael Stumo, president of the CPA, said that the bill would prevent foreign countries from weaponizing the American dollar against the country’s heartland. Sumo said:
This is a big deal, and we congratulate Senators Baldwin and Hawley for their intelligence and vision. A realigned dollar is the most important tool available to spur growth and job creation in the US economy. Their bill takes a major stand for working families and says that we will no longer allow the US dollar to be weaponized against America’s Heartland. It’s time to fundamentally change how we view the dollar.
Hawley and Baldwin’s bill also earned accolades from the National Farmers Union, Lapham-Hickey Steel Operations in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and Team Industries in Kaukauna, Wisconsin.
Politicians across the political spectrum have been increasingly interested in weakening the U.S. dollar to increase America’s manufacturing, including President Trump and 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Trump has repeatedly criticized the Federal Reserve for doing nothing while the European Union and China increasingly lower interest rates.
The E.U. and China will further lower interest rates and pump money into their systems, making it much easier for their manufacturers to sell product. In the meantime, and with very low inflation, our Fed does nothing – and probably will do very little by comparison. Too bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2019
Trump told reporters Tuesday, “We’re taking in billions and billions of dollars from China in the form of tariffs. Our people are not paying for it. China reduced its currency. They devalued their currency, and they’re pumping money into the system to pay for it.”
Read Sen. Hawley and Baldwin’s legislation here.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.