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Democrats Block Funds From $3.5T Massive Spending Bill From Going to Countries that Use Slave Labor

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Democrats have blocked a bill that would bar President Joe Biden’s massive $3.5 trillion social welfare spending bill from being of any benefit to countries like China that employ slave labor via the administration’s push to transition to a fleet of all-electric vehicles.

GOP members of the House Oversight Committee pushed an amendment to the gargantuan spending measure that would require the White House to certify that none of the “minerals” used to make electric vehicles purchased by the federal government were assembled using child or slave labor, the Washington Times reported Friday.

Biden has proposed spending about $7.4 billion to transform the current federal fleet away from gasoline-powered vehicles to an all-electric fleet as part of his agenda to combat climate change.

In making their pitch, Republicans said the United States must do more to harness its own supply of rare earth minerals that are used for the manufacturing of the high-technology batteries used to power electric vehicles.

Democrats, the party that was beholden to slavery in the Deep South 1800s, however, disagreed.

“The [Democratic] majority has time and time again referred back to electric vehicles, while at every turn neglecting the fundamental requirement needed to grow this industry,” said Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., in introducing the amendment.

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“Simply put you can not have electric vehicles without critical minerals, yet Democrats … have undermined the mining and processing of these minerals in America,” he added.

Democrats countered that existing regulations are in place to ensure that none of the taxpayer money earmarked for the electric vehicle fleet would be used to support slave labor.

“Forced labor and child labor are morally reprehensible and every company carries the responsibility to ensure their supply chains are free and fair,” Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, said.

“However [current law] already bars U.S. imports of any good that was produced with slave or child labor.”

The Times added:

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The amendment targeted China‘s dominance of the electric-vehicle battery market.

In 2019, China produced 72% of the world’s lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, while the U.S. accounted for 9%. Such batteries are used to power the engines in electric vehicles, according to the Energy Department.

The communist regime’s advantage is partially the result of long-term investment and planning.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a London-based firm, reports that China is responsible for producing some 80% of the total raw materials utilized in the manufacture of the batteries for electric vehicles to include lithium, cobalt, graphite, and nickel.

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But it’s Beijing’s relationships and partnerships with countries that use slave and child labor that are the problem. They include the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly, which uses forced child labor in mines before shipping the raw materials to China for processing, the Times reported.

“Beijing processes those critical minerals, turning them into electric vehicle batteries in its Xinjiang province, where the communist regime has been accused of violating the human rights of hundreds of thousands of Uyghur Muslims,” the paper added.

“By relying on these nations for our minerals our electric vehicle industry is built on slave labor,” Gosar noted further. “Many will stand up here today and applaud the commitment to a cleaner future, completely ignoring the role of slave and human labor in achieving this future because it is not in America.”

In addition to combatting support for slave labor, Republicans don’t want to continue supporting China, the main U.S. rival, as it continues to grow in power and influence in its own Asian neighborhood as well as globally.

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