Schumer: Senate to Vote on Bill to Fight Chinese Influence

Schumer: Senate to Vote on Bill to Fight Chinese Influence chuck shumer speaks with the capitol dome behind him. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. speaks during a press conference about student debt outside the U.S. Capitol on February 4, 2021.Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Monday, 10 May 2021 05:18 PM

The full Senate will vote this month on a bill aimed at fighting Chinese economic influence, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday.

Schumer said the Senate Commerce Committee will mark up the bill on Wednesday, according to The Hill. An earlier vote was delayed after hundreds of potential amendments were filed.

"The Senate Commerce Committee will begin to mark up the Endless Frontiers Act," Schumer said from the Senate floor. "A number of other Senate committees are working on bipartisan legislation to improve our competitiveness and make the United States a world leader in advanced manufacturing, innovation and supply chains."

"It is my intention to have the full Senate consider comprehensive competitive legislation during this work period," he said.

The current work period ends May 28.

The bipartisan "Endless Frontier" bill would authorize most of the money, $95 billion, over five years to invest in basic and advanced research, commercialization, and education and training programs in key technology areas, including artificial intelligence, semiconductors, quantum computing, advanced communications, biotechnology and advanced energy.

The measure, sponsored by Schumer, a Democrat, Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., and others, would also authorize another $10 billion to designate at least 10 regional technology hubs and create a supply chain crisis-response program to address issues like the shortfall in semiconductor chips harming auto production.

The revised version also would create a new Senate-confirmed chief manufacturing officer who would serve in the executive office of the president and would head a new Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy.

It would also direct the Commerce Department to establish "a supply chain resiliency and crisis response program," including "the ability of supply chains to resist and recover in the face of shocks, including pandemic and biological threats, cyberattacks, extreme weather events, terrorist and geopolitical attacks, great power conflict, and other threats."

The bill also seeks to boost basic research to accelerate innovation to advance critical minerals mining strategies and technologies to eliminate "national reliance on minerals and mineral materials that are subject to supply disruptions."

The draft bill would also block Chinese companies from participating in the Manufacturing USA program without a waiver. The program is a government and company-led effort to build up industrial competitiveness, cut energy use, and strengthen U.S. national security.

With unhappiness at China an issue that crosses party lines, Schumer is aiming to get a 60-vote majority to show bipartisanship on an issue in a time when it is hard to find, The Hill noted. He will need at least 10 Republican votes to achieve it.

The legislation has come under criticism from the right, however, with the 154-member House Republican Study Committee, saying that the bill is too expensive and needs tougher sanctions on China over stealing intellectual property rights and for industrial espionage.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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