“If Congress is not scared, it is going to fish,” Will Rogers once said. “If it scares him, he goes crazy.”
Regarding China, the humorist’s wisdom is being pointed to both sides of the Capitol.
The Senate approved the US Competition and Innovation Act, a stab of more than $ 200 billion (until recently, a lot of money) in industrial policy.
Sure, there is a lot of good on the bill. The finance, banking, and foreign affairs parts do fine things; for example, extending the Generalized System of Preferences to keep US markets open to trade with countries vulnerable to Chinese influence.
That’s smart, but bailing out an industry, semiconductors, that certainly doesn’t need a bailout is insane.
At the other end of the Capitol, they go fishing.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee is in the midst of a long marathon of America’s Ensuring Global Participation and Leadership Act (EAGLE). As presented, it was primarily a collection of mandatory reports, “sense of Congress” provisions, and expensive virtue signs on unrelated topics like climate change.
On the sidelines, the majority of the committee appears to be more concerned with avoiding lines of attack on what will remain a very weak bill.
It’s a shame, because it doesn’t have to be that way. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee produced a bipartisan foreign policy section of the US Competition and Innovation Act. It’s not perfect, but it’s serious. So far, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has taken a wholly partisan approach and, as a result, has come up with something much less serious.
There is so many good ideas out there. There were proposals that were left on the table in the marking of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and on the floor of the Senate, such as Senator Marco Rubio’s amendment that changes the name of the US representative to Taiwan just that, “representative.” , and requires Senate confirmation for the position.
There were also the House proposals China Task Force, an earlier opportunity for bipartisan cooperation that most missed. There are things the Senate did in its bill, such as forcing an American diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics in China, that might need a boost to make sure they stay in the bill.
This House markup is just the next step in the process of creating what will hopefully be a comprehensive China bill. It is unclear what form that process will take in the future.
The Senate US Competition and Innovation Act it was the work of seven committees. home has passed two components, one on energy and one on science. And now the House Foreign Affairs Committee is considering the foreign policy part.
In the end, it is plausible that each item has to go through separately. The problem is that, in that eventuality, you can bet the pieces that give more money to the voters who move. Foreign policy is generally not good for that, but the government “investments“They almost always are.
Another thing Will Rogers said was that he “will never be short of material when Congress is in session.” We hope that Congress will finally prove him wrong in his work in China.
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