Lekha G –
The Senate has passed bipartisan legislation called the US Innovation and Competition Act that aimed at countering China’s growing influence by investigating more than $ 200 billion in American technology, science and research.
Nineteen Senate Republicans joined Democrats voting for the legislation. The final vote was 68-32.
Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat said the legislation “Will supercharge American innovation and preserve our competitive edge for generations to come.”
Minority Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had warned that they would block the legislation unless they got more votes on GOP-backed amendments and further argued that Schumer closed debate on the bill too soon and the legislation is incomplete.
However, the Kentucky Republican lauded the importance of the legislation saying, “It includes several smart targeted measures, but leaves many more on the table and so it will advance as an imperfect approach to an extremely consequential challenge.”
Along with GOP, Sanders had also raised concerns over several provisions, including $ 10 billion in funds authorized for NASA that would most likely benefit Jeff Bezos space company along with the US semiconductor industry.
Schumer strongly pushed back against GOP criticism and pointed to a long list of amendments to the bill that had been voted on, including 18 Republican amendments and 4 Democratic amendments.
The bill serves multiple purposes for the White House that sought to ramp up economic capability at the rising and increasingly competitive China and the measures would serve the president as a vehicle for significant plank on research and development and on manufacturing from his sweeping $ 4 trillion legislative priorities.
The Senate further approved several amendments from Republicans by voice vote on Tuesday, including from Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky to ban the National Institutes of Health from funding “Gain-of-action” research in China, an amendment from lowa Sen. Joni Ernst blocking any federal funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology and an intellectual property provision from Montana Sen. Steve Daines.
The bill has yet to be passed by the House before going to President Joe Biden’s desk.