The White House called Thursday for Congress to send President Barack Obama a currency enforcement bill — an issue that has added urgency given the roiling of financial markets after China devalued the yuan.
Asked about China’s recent devaluation, Press Secretary Josh Earnest called on Congress to reconcile differences between House- and Senate-passed currency bills. Those provisions could be used to counter currency manipulation from other countries, not just China, Earnest said.
Earnest added Obama would continue to press China to change its currency policies — with the president of China slated to come to the United States for a state visit.
The White House’s previous bragging on the appreciation of the yuan when Congress was debating the Trade Promotion Authority took a black eye in August.
China has also been a hot issue on the campaign trail, with Donald Trump and Bernard Sanders both torching the administration’s handling of trade polices.
The Obama administration has repeatedly refused to officially name China a currency manipulator during the president’s time office, preferring quiet jawboning instead.
The White House has backed currency enforcement language offered by Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., but the White House threatened to veto a much tougher provision authored by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and has had qualms about provisions authored by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.
In May, Obama said he needed to talk to them about it.
“I have to talk to Senator Schumer and Sherrod Brown and others about how we can work on language that does not end up having a blowback effect on our ability to maintain our own monetary policy,” Obama said then.