On April 19th, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the “Protecting Solar Jobs Act” (H.R. 5571) in the House Committee on Ways and Means. The proposed bill is in response to President Trump’s imposition of a 30% tariff on imported crystalline-silicon solar cells and modules – his first major trade action of 2018. The bipartisan group was made up of Representatives from Nevada, California and South Carolina with the bill being filed by Representative Jacky Rosen of Nevada.
In introducing the bill, Representative Rosen defended the move by stating that the “[s]olar energy’s success throughout Nevada has led to new jobs, cheaper power bills, and the growth of a new industry that is diversifying [the] state’s economy…[The] Administration directly threatened the stability and financial well-being of [Nevada’s] local solar industry when the President decided to impose a 30 percent tariff on imported panels….[The] new bill will reverse this damaging decision.” Another supporter of the bill, Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, noted that “[s]olar power is one of the cheapest and fastest-growing renewable energy sources, and if we are really focused on becoming energy independent, now is no time to slow its growth. … [O]ver 7,000 South Carolinians who work in the solar industry could lose their jobs because of these tariffs. This bill is about sustaining solar as a renewable and key energy source toward jobs, clean energy, and energy independence.”
The House Committee on Ways and Means will now have to decide if the Protecting American Solar Jobs Act will be released to the floor for a vote. If the bill passes a vote by a simple majority, then the bill will move on to the Senate and then to the President for approval. If the President vetos the bill, it will then return to the Senate and Congress where it must pass by a two-thirds majority to override the President’s veto.