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Senate Passes Bill in Effort to Compete with China’s Booming Economic Influence

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On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed a rare bipartisan bill to compete with China’s every growing economic influence.

What We Know:

  • The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act is one of the largest industrial bills to be passed in the U.S., investing close to $250 billion in research, technology, and science. The bill passed with a Senate vote of 68-32, showing that the U.S.-China rivery concerns both Democrats and Republicans. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I- VT) did not vote in favor of the bill, making him the only Democratic caucus member to vote against it.
  • The passing of the bill is a big win for Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D- NY) and Sen. Todd Young (R- IN), as it includes a huge part of their “Endless Frontier” proposal. According to CNBC, their proposal “overhauls the National Science Foundation” and will take billions of dollars to create a Directorate for Technology and Innovation.
  • “Around the globe, authoritarian governments believe that squabbling democracies like ours can’t unite around national priorities. Well, let me tell you something: I believe that they are wrong. I believe that this legislation will enable the United States to out-innovate, out-produce, and out-compete the world in the industries of the future,” said Schumer.
  • The bill will also give the Commence Department a little over $50 million to help fund manufacturing and semiconductor research and development. John Neuffer, the CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association, stated that the passing of this bill is a “pivotal step toward strengthening U.S. semiconductor production and innovation and an indication of the strong, bipartisan support in Washington for ensuring sustained American leadership in science and technology.”
  • President Joe Biden believes it’s time to invest in American workers and innovation. He stated, “as other countries continue to invest in their own research and development, we cannot risk falling behind. America must maintain its position as the most innovative and productive nation on Earth.”
  • The bill still has to go through the Democratic-led House of Representatives, which has its own list of bills helping the U.S. compete against China, including the 470-page bill drafted by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Gregory Meeks (D-NY). Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has already voiced that the House will modify the bill. After a conversation with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Schumer is confident that the House will pass the bill.
  • Despite the bill receiving support from both parties, some GOP senators have concerns regarding the bill’s cost. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has expressed that the NSF doesn’t need any more money because they are “the king of wasteful spending.” He believes this bill will only make the U.S. weaker in comparison to our rivals and not stronger as it suggests. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) felt the final bill was “incomplete” because it left out many GOP amendments. However, he ultimately voted for it because it acknowledged “several smart, targeted measures.”

The passing of the bill at the House level would greatly benefit the Biden administration. They plan on restricting American investments into various Chinese companies and assisting with infrastructure negotiations. The House plans on hearing the bill in the coming weeks.

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