Democrats vote against Stauber’s amendment to crack down on child slave labor

"This is how partisan the Democrat Party has become," Stauber said in response.

Rep. Pete Stauber speaks at last week's committee markup. (House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee/YouTube)

Rep. Pete Stauber of Minnesota recently introduced an amendment during a committee markup that prohibited the purchase of “green” technology made with minerals procured by child slaves in Africa, but the Democratic-controlled committee voted it down.

The Washington Times, in an analysis article written by Michael McKenna, said Stauber’s amendment not only prohibited the spending of taxpayer money on products “made or mined” by Congolese children and “processed” by Chinese slaves, it also “required the secretary of commerce to certify that any electric vehicles, charging stations, solar panels or other infrastructure components do not contain minerals sourced with forced child labor.”

“The unfortunate truth is that many of the technologies that Americans enjoy today are made with minerals sourced by child slaves working in Chinese-run mines in the Congo,” Stauber explained, according to McKenna. “Ending child labor across the globe should be an easy cause to get behind.”

He was stunned to find the amendment faced opposition from Democrats on the committee.

“I don’t understand for the life of me why this is controversial,” Stauber said during last week’s committee markup. “Why is this controversial? What does the Chinese government have over certain people? This is unbelievable.”

Democrats argued that Stauber’s amendment would have the effect of stopping “the development of EV infrastructure in a cynical attempt to protect carbon-polluting industries like oil and gas.”

But on Twitter, Stauber noted that just last year “over a dozen Democrats” supported a similar amendment he introduced during a previous House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee markup.

“The same Democrats who supported it last year decided to vote against it [this year],” he tweeted Wednesday. “This is how partisan the Democrat Party has become.”

Although more than a dozen Democrats on that committee supported Stauber’s amendment in 2020, the Washington Times said House leadership removed the amendment before bringing the bill to the floor.

“Unfortunately for children in the Congo … the Democrats are funded in considerable measure by environmentalists, which means electric vehicles — however, and wherever they’re made — are sacramental in nature,” McKenna writes.

McKenna also listed the names of the ten T&I committee Democrats who supported Stauber’s amendment last year but voted it down this year:

  • Rep. Rick Larsen of Washington
  • Rep. John Garamendi of California
  • Rep. Julia Brownley of California
  • Rep. Salud Carabajal of California
  • Rep. Sean Maloney of New York
  • Rep. Antonio Delgado of New York
  • Rep. Tom Malinowski of New Jersey
  • Rep. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania
  • Rep. Chris Pappas of New Hampshire
  • Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts

For Stauber, the amendment should not be controversial, saying last year per the Washington Times that “ending child labor should not be a partisan effort.”

“Rather than continue to rely on nations that exploit child labor, we must hold our nation to a much higher standard and empower American workers to responsibly source these critical minerals here under the best environmental and labor standards in the world,” he added.


Evan Stambaugh

Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.