According to the House vote scheduled, Democratic leaders have canceled a vote this week on legislation sanctioning China’s use of slave labor and banning the import of items created using it. Jim McGovern pledged last week that the House would vote this week on the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, a long-stalled human rights issue that has been a flashpoint in US-China ties. While McGovern said the measure would move forward on Thursday, it isn’t on the official House floor calendar.
Biden administration aides have been accused of privately urging congressional friends to oppose the idea after Democrats in the House and Senate stopped it from being included in the yearly Pentagon budget agreement last week. One of the administration’s top climate negotiators, John Kerry, is concerned that the bill may upset China at a crucial time in the administration’s efforts to sign a climate pact with the CCP.
Democrats are under fire for allegedly stalling the legislation at the behest of the Biden administration due to the protracted delay. Though it was unanimously approved by the Senate in July and is widely backed by Republicans and human rights advocates, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which would ban imports from the Xinjiang region of China where Uyghurs are subjected to forced labor, mass surveillance, and detention camps, has been stuck in Congress.
The plan’s principal Senate proponent, Sen. Marco Rubio, tried last week to change the massive annual defense appropriations bill, but Majority Leader Chuck Schumer prevented him. Last week, a senior Rubio adviser informed the Washington Free Beacon that House Democrats are doing the same.
Like the Senate, House Democrats removed a clause to punish Uyghur slave labor from the $1.9 trillion “Build Back Better” bill. However, it was reported that Kerry and the Biden State Department used a lobbying campaign to eliminate a clause in the law that prevented public monies from flowing to any organizations that use Uyghur slave labor.