The United States Congress is making progress on legislation to address competition with China, which must now be reconciled between both chambers to issue a final version that will be signed into law by President Joe Biden.
The American Competition Act passed the Senate on Monday by a 68-28 vote, while the House of Representatives voted for a very different version in February by a 222-210 margin.
The White House applauded the legislation’s progress in a statement, saying “there is clear bipartisan support for the kinds of investments the President is pushing, such as increasing domestic manufacturing, supporting our innovators and helping them bring their ideas from the lab.” to the shop floor, and address supply chain bottlenecks like semiconductors that are driving up prices to the middle class.”
The multibillion-dollar project includes development and supply chain issues to reduce reliance on Chinese-made products, with allocations for US manufacturing of semiconductors, critical electronics, auto components and other defense devices.
It also addresses human rights and democracy issues by providing Taiwan with funding for cultural exchanges, recognizing Taiwan as part of the US strategy in the Indo-Pacific region, and ending a ban on flying the Taiwanese flag during official visits. To united states.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner tweeted Tuesday that “passing the bill … involves taking real action to address long-term inflation and making direct investments in American manufacturers.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the process of reconciling the Senate and House versions would begin by the end of this week.
“I believe this bill will go down as one of the most important steps Congress can take to create more American jobs, repair our supply chains and refuel another generation of American inventiveness that will strengthen our economy for a very long time.” long,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
Although the bill has some bipartisan support, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees, said it falls short.
In a speech on the threat from Communist China at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, Rubio said more needs to be done because it doesn’t sufficiently protect taxpayer-funded industrial and research projects.
Rubio argued that the problem will not be solved until China is able to lobby more with American companies to protect its interests, and said that a project of his that blocks imports of products made by slave labor has run into opposition from American companies.
“They are more interested in placating the Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping because that allows them to maximize their profits…rather than doing what is morally right and good for the country,” he added.
In China, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters that “the project ignores the facts, exaggerates the Chinese threat theory, promotes strategic competition with China, and is full of Cold War thinking, which clashes with the common desire in China and the United States to strengthen exchanges and cooperation.”
“China opposes this and will firmly defend its own interests,” the spokesman said.
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