US Senate moves legislation to tackle competition from China

US Senate moves legislation to tackle competition from China

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer – Getty / Getty

The US Senate on Monday voted in favor of a multimillion-dollar bill aimed at boosting high-tech research and manufacturing, combating Chinese influence and easing global shortages of computer chips.

The law is the upper house’s version of the House of Representatives America Competence bill passed in February. Congressmen are expected to initiate negotiations between the two sides in the House and Senate to reconcile different texts.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the legislation, which has long been stalled, “will be one of the most important achievements of the 117th Congress.”

“This bill, for all of its provisions, is really about two big things: creating more American jobs and lowering costs for American families,” he told senators. “This will help reduce costs by making it easier to produce critical technologies like semiconductors in-house. It will create more jobs by rolling back manufacturing.”

Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell discussed the draft to begin formal talks on the law in April and plenary voting in May or June.

Both the House and Senate versions consider US President Joe Biden’s $52 billion investment target in national research and production, marking a victory that could be declared ahead of a midterm election in November.

The 2,900-page version of the House passed along largely partisan lines, with Republicans arguing that it was not hard enough on China and focused too much on issues such as climate change and social inequality. That means it is destined for a convention committee, where Senate Republicans will have all the clout, as it will take 10 of them to return to the upper house for the final text.

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However, Chuck Schumer said the legislation would inspire a new generation of American innovation. “Any country that first masters the technologies of tomorrow will reconfigure the world in its image”, he indicated on the Senate floor. “When it comes to technologies like 5G, AI (artificial intelligence), quantum computing, semiconductors, bioengineering and more, the United States cannot afford to take second place.”

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About the author: Cory Weinberg

"Student. Subtly charming organizer. Certified music advocate. Writer. Lifelong troublemaker. Twitter lover."

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