With Republicans and Democrats increasingly concerned about competition from Asia’s greatest power, the US Senate on Wednesday passed the bill with a vote of 68 to 32, one of the most important bipartisan achievements in Congress. since Joe Biden’s presidency began in January.
“We are in a competition to win the 21st century, and the starting shot has exploded,” Biden said.
“As other countries continue to invest in their own research and development, we cannot risk being left behind. America must maintain its position as the most innovative and productive nation on Earth,” Biden said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “Countries that best harness technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and quantum computing will be able to shape innovation in their image.”
What is the Law of Innovation and Competition?
It is an industrial policy bill intended to counter the growing economic threat from rival China.
It also represents the largest investment in scientific research and technological innovation “in generations,” according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The bill is seen as crucial to America’s efforts to avoid being overtaken by Beijing as adversaries compete in the race for technological innovation.
While Senate Top Republican Mitch McConnell stressed that the measure remained “incomplete,” it nonetheless passed by a healthy margin, highlighting how the nation’s competition with China is one of the few issues that can unite Republicans. and contending Democrats.
What does the bill propose?
- The proposal aims to address a number of technology areas in which the United States has lagged behind its Chinese competitors.
- The bill allocates $ 52 billion in funding for a previously approved plan to increase domestic semiconductor manufacturing. A summary of the Senate legislation notes how China is “aggressively investing more than $ 150 billion” in semiconductor manufacturing to control advanced technology.
- It also authorizes $ 120 billion over five years for activities at the National Science Foundation to advance priorities, including research and development in key areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum science.
- Facilitates ties between private companies and research universities.
- The bill also seeks to counter Beijing’s growing global influence through diplomacy, working with allies and increasing the United States’ involvement in international organizations after the former Republican president.
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- It would also allow diplomats and the Taiwanese military to display their flag and wear their uniforms while in the United States on official business.
- The bill would authorize
POTSpending and his mission Artemis to the Moon. “As China has made clear, they are going to Mars, we are going back to the Moon to prepare to go to Mars,” Sen. Maria Cantwell said.
- It proposes blocking the purchase of drones manufactured and sold by companies backed by the Chinese government.
- It would also create new and comprehensive mandatory sanctions for Chinese entities involved in US cyberattacks or theft of US intellectual property from US companies, and provides for a review of export controls for items that could be used to support human rights abuses.
- The bill has provisions to prohibit the social media app TikTok from being downloaded to government devices.
When will the bill go into effect?
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, which previously passed a different version. The two will need to be reconciled on a single bill before it is sent to the White House for the president’s signature.
What does China say?
Beijing on Wednesday accused Washington of “paranoid delusion” after the US Senate passed a comprehensive industrial policy bill aimed at countering the growing economic threat from China.
The foreign affairs committee of China’s top legislature called the bill an attempt to interfere in the country’s internal affairs and deprive it of its “legitimate right to development through technology and economic decoupling,” the media reported. state.
“The bill shows that the paranoid delusion of selfishness has distorted the original intention of innovation and competition,” the foreign affairs committee of the National People’s Congress said, according to a report by the official Xinhua news agency.
He said the bill was “full of Cold War mentality and ideological biases.”
Biden’s commercial ‘strike force’
President Joe Biden ordered the review of critical supply chains in February, concerned that the United States was falling behind after it struggled to gain access to critical goods during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The United States will target China with a new ‘strike force’ to combat unfair trade practices that the administration says are damaging American supply chains. The group will be led by the US trade representative, which has the power to enforce tariffs against China and other countries.
Here are some of the top recommendations and initiatives developed by US executive agencies:
- National security fees
The Commerce Department is considering launching a Section 232 investigation into the national security impact of imports of neodymium magnets used in motors and other industrial applications, which the United States sources primarily from China.
- Supply bottlenecks
To address supply bottlenecks, from lumber to steel, that have raised inflation fears, the administration is initiating a task force focused on housing construction and construction, semiconductors, transportation, as well as agriculture and food. .
- Bringing drug manufacturing to the ground
The administration will use the Defense Production Law to accelerate efforts to manufacture 50 to 100 critical drugs domestically instead of relying on imports. Biden has already used Korean War-era law to boost production of vaccines and other critical medical supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commerce Department would work to “facilitate the flow of information” between chipmakers and end users, increase transparency and address the semiconductor shortage that has held back production of goods, including new cars.
The new government task forces will seek to reform mine permitting laws and identify sites where critical minerals in batteries can be produced and processed “while adhering to the highest environmental, labor and sustainability standards,” according to a informational page.
- The US Development Finance Corporation also wants to expand international investments in critical mineral projects.
- The Department of Energy will also use $ 17 billion in loans it can make to help high-tech vehicle battery manufacturers.
(With inputs from agencies)