Senate Democrats announce new effort to combat Chinese competition
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
are drafting a new proposal that intends to address competition with
and prepare a plan to combat aggression against
Last year, lawmakers
passed a bill
to boost competition with China with semiconductors and other technology. The
, signed into law by Biden, authorized more than $170 billion over five years to boost research in an effort to better compete with China and $52 billion in new subsidies for semiconductor manufacturing and research.
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Now, Schumer and Democrats serving as chairs of committees are trying to take it a step further, with a plan to draft a package of bills to tighten regulations in an effort to block U.S. capital from going to Chinese companies, deter China from initiating a conflict with Taiwan, and limit technology going to Beijing.
“We laid a strong foundation for the future, but we all know that despite that strong progress, our work is not done,” Schumer said at a press conference on Wednesday. “We will work in a bipartisan fashion. I’ve asked each of these chairs to reach out to their ranking members to come up with bipartisan legislation to deal with the Chinese government.”
Schumer’s press conference came after
Secretary of State Antony Blinken
announced plans to reschedule his first visit to China, which was supposed to happen in February. The trip was abruptly canceled after a Chinese surveillance balloon was detected and taken down over U.S. territory. Officials maintain the balloon was intended to collect surveillance, which the Chinese still deny.
Schumer said he would begin working with leaders of the upper chamber’s committees to identify areas of importance when drafting the new legislation, which has been called the China Competition Bill 2.0.
“Time is not on our side. The Xi regime is working every day to catch up and surpass the United States,” Schumer said, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping. “There is no reason our two parties here in the Congress and in the Senate can’t come together and send a strong message to the Chinese government that we’re united in this pressing national security effort, and we are committed to maintaining America’s lead in the future.”
Responding to China’s growing threats has been a topic both Democrats and Republicans have found common ground on, which has been rare in an era of divided government. However, the Senate majority leader was asked about how he could convince Republicans to get on board with additional domestic investment, as GOP leadership in the House of Representatives is calling for major cuts in the budget and have mostly been focused on funding in the form of military and defense.
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“With our five pieces, two are related to military and foreign policy of defense aspects. That is necessary, but not sufficient. We have to deal with that issue. But, we also have to deal with the economic issue because we’re in a large, very important, very crucial competition with the Chinese Government,” Schumer said.
The Senate majority leader said lawmakers intend to examine TikTok and other foreign-related applications when they write the legislation. TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has been at the center of intense scrutiny recently on Capitol Hill.