U.S. Senate Passes Radical Bill to Address China’s Tech Threat
The US Senate voted on Tuesday 68-32 to approve a broad set of laws aimed at boosting the country’s ability to compete with Chinese technology.
The desire for a hard line in relations with China is one of the few bipartisan sentiments within the deeply divided US Congress, which is tightly controlled by the Democratic colleagues of President Joe Biden.
The measure authorizes around $ 190 billion for provisions to bolster U.S. technology and research – and would separately approve spending of $ 54 billion to increase U.S. production and research in semiconductors and telecommunications equipment, including $ 2 billion dedicated to chips used by car manufacturers who have experienced massive shortages and made significant production cuts.
The bill must be passed by the House of Representatives to be sent to the White House for Biden to be signed. We do not know what the bill will look like in the House or when it could pass it.
The bill contains a number of other China-related provisions, including a ban on downloading the TikTok social media app on government devices and would block the purchase of drones made and sold by companies backed by the Chinese government. It would also allow Taiwanese diplomats and military personnel to display their flag and wear their uniforms in the United States on official business.
It would also create new general mandatory sanctions against Chinese entities involved in U.S. cyber attacks or theft of U.S. intellectual property from U.S. companies, and include a review of export controls for items that could be used to support U.S. human rights violations.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, co-sponsor of the measure, warned of the dire consequences of not funding research to keep pace with China.
“If we don’t do something, our days as a dominant superpower might come to an end. We don’t want to let those days end under our watch. We don’t want to see America become a middle-class nation in this century,” Schumer said.
Biden praised the bill: “We are in a competition to win the 21st century, and the kick-off has sounded… We cannot risk falling behind.”
US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said the funding could lead to the establishment of seven to ten new semiconductor factories in the United States.
Many American companies have welcomed the bill. General Motors Co (GM.N) said the legislation “represents an important step in addressing the semiconductor shortage that continues to impact US auto manufacturing.”
Some critics have likened the Senate funding effort to China’s high-tech industrial development surge, dubbed “Made in China 2025,” which has long angered the United States.
The bill also seeks to counter Beijing’s growing global influence through diplomacy, working with allies, and increasing U.S. involvement in international organizations after the “America First” program. former Republican President Donald Trump.
Senator Maria Cantwell noted that the bill would allow spending by NASA and its Artemis mission 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,” Cantwell said.
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