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.
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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