A Sept. 27 letter asked why I did not support a particular amendment to a mining bill. I want to explain my decision.
I supported a bill, which passed 246-178, to speed the mining of strategic minerals in the U.S. I joined all of my Republican colleagues in supporting this legislation.
Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NewYork, proposed two changes to the bill in a procedure called a "motion to recommit." It would have banned exporting any of the minerals to Iran and China. Minority members often use these kinds of motions to derail a bill or score political points.
I'm not in favor of sending strategic minerals to a place like Iran, but the "motion to recommit" would not have changed outcomes because the U.S. already has economic sanctions against Iran. I joined my Republican colleagues in the House in defeating this proposal.
As for China, right now the United States is overly dependent on China for some of these strategic materials. Moving us away from this dependence is a good part of why this bill was introduced in the first place, and the question we had to contemplate in the motion to recommit was whether a moratorium on sales to China would escalate a trade war. This might end China's shipments of these critical materials to the Unites States before we have developed the self-sufficiency this bill aimed for.
It seemed reasonable that would be the outcome, and for that reason, I voted against this motion.
U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford
1st Congressional District