On Tuesday, U.S. politicians voted with a tally of 68-32 to pass a sweeping China-focused global competition bill, which some Republicans continue to oppose.
Supporters of the bill said the approval of the measure was evidence that the Senate could still run on a bipartisan basis despite being divided. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was also forced to delay final passage for weeks after the last-minute chaos that occurred.
Experts also said the competition bill is a sign of the generally accepted consensus across the United States about the need to win over China. This includes bringing back the former glory of the U.S.'s manufacturing and research efforts while doubling down on Beijing's economic abuses.
Competition With China
Schumer called the passage of the bill a momentous moment in the history of the United States. He said it is one of the most significant bipartisan achievements that future generations in the years to come would be proud of.
Schumer and Senator Todd Young were responsible for authoring the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. It is a wide-ranging bipartisan proposal that would provide additional funding to support the National Science Foundation (NSF) while ushering in a new technology directorate. The legislation brings $50 billion in emergency funding to give the Commerce Department enough finances to boost the country's domestic semiconductor production. The efforts come as worldwide, companies are seeing a shortage of the chip supply.
Officials also provided billions of dollars to support other aspects of the country, including the Energy Department, the Pentagon, and NASA. The legislation would also support areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics, and 5G, Yahoo News reported.
The legislation would also require U.S. companies to use iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials produced by the country. There are some federal projects that do not currently require the materials to be made by American companies.
Becoming Globally Competitive
A major part of the legislation that lawmakers are critical of is how it counters China's state-directed economic policies. Many officials accused the Asian country of practicing unfair trade such as intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers. The U.S. Secretary of State is required, under the new bill, to list all state-owned enterprises in China that are known to have used either of the two trade strategies.
The legislation also strengthens the United States' relationship with its allies, including Japan and Australia, in an effort to halt the import of goods using stolen intellectual property
.President Joe Biden can use the full range of his authority to impose proper sanctions on any person or entity that has committed such crimes or benefited from stolen U.S. trade secrets. He can also, under the new bill, sanction foreign entities or persons that were found to have supported cyberattacks or undermined the country's cybersecurity benefitting China.
The new bill will lead to the creation of an inter-agency task force that would be responsible for addressing China's market manipulation within the United States. It would also authorize the spending of funds to support an independent media in Chinese territory, CNN reported.