UPDATED 9:07 AM PT – Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Senators on Capitol Hill laid down their partisan arms to pass a bill pushing back against Chinese competitiveness. On Tuesday, the Senate voted 68-to-32 to pass the sweeping American Innovation and Competition Act.
“This bill has accelerated an important conversation on a topic we all know deserves our full attention,” stated Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “From critical supply chains to intellectual property to counter espionage, it touches on key issues that will help determine our strategic footing for decades.”
The law aims to pump $200 billion into U.S. tech companies to develop critical technology, including artificial intelligence, robots and semiconductors. Currently, the U.S. spends less than 1 percent of its GDP towards basic science and research with many attributing the lack of funding to the country’s competitiveness lag to China.
Joe Biden applauded the bills passage through the Senate while asserting it’s long past the time that the U.S. invest in American workers and American innovation. While Democrats are hailing the measure one of the most important bipartisan bills in recent history, GOP senators feel their efforts didn’t go far enough.
“And so, it will advance as an imperfect approach to an extremely consequential challenge,” McConnell continued. “One thing this legislation did demonstrate extremely well, however, was that the rules of Senate don’t stand in the way of bipartisan legislating. Needless to say, final passage of this legislation cannot be the Senate’s final word on our competition with China..it certainly won’t be mine.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reportedly spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and expects to reach a compromise between the two chambers of Congress before sending it to Biden’s desk. In the meantime, Biden is confident he will be brought fourth a sign worthy bill.