In Congress

House Democrats Unveil Bill To Bolster Competitiveness Against China, But Disagreements Remain

House Democrats late Tuesday unveiled a bill aimed at bolstering United States competitiveness with China that jumpstarts domestic research and development and semiconductor chip production.

The bill is the House’s version of legislation that passed the Senate last June in a bipartisan vote. It includes $45 billion to help ease supply chain shortages, and like the Senate bill, it includes $52 billion to boost semiconductor chip manufacturing.

The bill would also take aim at China’s genocide against its own Uyghur Muslim population, and it would provide temporary protected status to some Hong Kong residents.

But the House’s version is both different and much longer than the Senate’s, making it unclear when a compromised bill could be agreed upon and sent to President Joe Biden’s desk. Meanwhile, supply chain shortages have worsened the lack of chips, exacerbating bottlenecks of many essential electronic products.

“Now is the time to recommit to boldly and strategically investing in our nation’s future, and to do so in a way that strengthens the supply chain, lowers costs and ensures that America can out-compete any nation, today and for decades to come,” House Speaker Pelosi said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the bill “an important step forward” Tuesday, adding that Congress has “no time to waste in improving American competitiveness, strengthening our lead in global innovation, and addressing supply chain challenges, including in the semiconductor industry.”

And while 18 Senate Republicans supported the bill in June 2021, it remains unclear how many in the House will do the same.

“We have been in talks with House and Senate committees of jurisdiction for weeks, trying to put together a bipartisan bill that could pass Congress,” said Republican Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Rather than allowing those talks to play out, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have decided to torpedo the chance of a bipartisan, bicameral bill to confront the generational threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party.”

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