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Higgins Pushes for Vote on China Currency Bill

7/8/2011- Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) joined several of his colleagues in signing a discharge petition that would require the House to consider the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (H.R. 639).  
 
“This is one of the most important policy changes we can do to create jobs in Western New York and across the United States,” said Congressman Higgins.   “It’s simple - when the world buys U.S. products, our companies are making things, and when we make things Americans work.”
 
According to an Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report released last year, “the Chinese Renminbi is undervalued by at least 35% to 40%, which makes U.S. goods at least 35% more expensive for Chinese purchasers and makes Chinese goods artificially cheap in the United States and around the world.  The report estimates the China trade deficit is to blame for the loss of approximately 20,100 jobs in Western New York from 2001 – 2008.
 
An EPI report released just last month further calculates, “if the yuan (also known as the Renminbi or RMB) and satellite currencies were revalued to their equilibrium levels, U.S. gross domestic product would increase as much as $285.7 billion (1.9%), creating up to 2.25 million U.S. jobs. Although it would take 18 to 24 months to achieve these full benefits, this growth would reduce the U.S. budget deficit by up to $71.4 billion per year.
 
The discharge petition forces the House to bring the bill to the floor for a vote once 218 Members of Congress have signed it.   This bipartisan bill, cosponsored by Congressman Higgins and 160 other members, passed the House last year with 348 votes, including a majority of both parties voting in favor, but is meeting resistance under the new House leadership.
 
Higgins added, “Americans want to see a real urgency on job creation efforts but with holdups like this are left wondering, ‘what are they waiting for?’ This isn’t a partisan issue and it shouldn’t be treated that way.”