Senate passes sweeping China competition bill in rare bipartisan vote

The Senate voted 68-32 on Tuesday to approve a sweeping China-focused world competition bill, overcoming Republican objections that had threatened to derail the $200 billion+ bipartisan bundle.

Why it issues: The bill’s supporters cite the measure as proof that the deeply divided Senate can nonetheless operate on a bipartisan foundation, regardless of the last-minute chaos that pressured Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to delay last passage for weeks.

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  • It’s additionally an indication of the widespread consensus that has emerged round the necessity to outcompete China on the world stage, together with by revitalizing U.S. manufacturing and analysis and cracking down on Beijing’s financial abuses.

  • Schumer hailed the bill as one of the important bipartisan achievements in years, calling its passage “a moment in history that future generations look back on as a turning point for American leadership in the … 21st century.”

How we acquired right here: The basis of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act is a wide-ranging bipartisan proposal from Schumer and Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) that might authorize new funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and set up a brand new know-how directorate.

  • In February, Schumer requested each Democratic committee chairs and their rating Republicans to work on different measures that might be included in a broader bundle to bolster U.S. tech, manufacturing and analysis to raised compete with China.

  • The ensuing $250 billion proposal had enter from half a dozen committees, and the Senate voted on dozens of Republican, Democratic and bipartisan amendments over the course of the previous a number of weeks.

  • The bill has the backing of President Biden, whose administration has made curbing China’s affect by way of a coalition of allies one in every of its prime priorities.

Details: The centerpiece of the laws is $50 billion in emergency funding for the Commerce Department to spice up home semiconductor manufacturing, in gentle of the global chip shortage.

  • It additionally consists of billions in additional funding for analysis and improvement on the Energy Department, the Pentagon and NASA, together with in the areas of synthetic intelligence, quantum computing, robotics and 5G.

  • The bill would offer $10 billion over 5 years to Commerce Department to create regional tech hub applications, and require federally funded infrastructure initiatives to make use of sure supplies manufactured in the U.S.

What they’re saying: “Around the globe, authoritarian governments smell blood in the water,” Schumer stated in a speech on the Senate flooring.

  • “They believe that squabbling democracies like ours can’t come together and invest in national priorities the way a top-down, centralized and authoritarian government can,” he continued. “They are rooting for us to fail so they can grab the mantle of global economic leadership and own the innovations.”

What’s subsequent: It’s unclear what the bill’s path shall be in the House, the place Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) has introduced his personal China competition bill.

🎧) Go deeper: Rep. Ro Khanna on the massive bill to compete with China

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