Sen. Lee: Bipartisan Innovation Act Creates China-Like Model for US Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Nov. 17, 2020, in Washington, DC. (BILL CLARK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Tuesday, 08 June 2021 12:09 PM
The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, designed to challenge China's technology powers through the support of U.S. chipmakers and science research, is a bad idea because it will create a model that makes the United States' government behave more like China's rather than allowing businesses to depend on innovation, Sen. Mike Lee said Tuesday.
"We're not a command and control economy, where we don't operate in the communist system, and I hope we never do," the Utah Republican said on Fox Business' "Mornings With Maria." "The way we're going to China is by being our best selves through innovation, by harvesting timber, not organs. We need to be loosening regulations, not enhancing the profile of the government. That's why I oppose this bill and I hope every Republican will oppose it."
The bill, introduced in May, is expected to cost about $200 billion. It is a bipartisan measure compiled from information from at least six Senate committees and calls for appropriating $52 billion to support domestic semiconductor manufacturing; $81 billion for the National Science Foundation from fiscal years 2022 to 2026; $16.9 billion for the Department of Energy over the same period; and $10 billion to NASA’s human landing systems program.
The former "Endless Frontier Act" was encompassed into the innovation act and is the largest part of the legislation.
Lee said the measure calls for spending billions of dollars "at a time we are printing money as if it is going out of style."
"It is creating problems and will itself create an anti-competitive problem with China," said Lee. "You will always team up with a handful of industries and industrialists, and if we throw a bunch of money at this, a few businesses in America might get really wealthy. That doesn't help us win a war with China. We win through innovation. Innovation comes about as a result of market forces, not government intervention."
So far, though, the Biden administration's biggest response to China is to push a bill that is "legitimizing China's business model and legitimizing the way they undertake things which no respect for the sanctity of human life, and no understanding of how they work," said Lee.
"The Chinese Communist Party can do things it wants to do but we should have no part in that or their failed strategies, between communism and socialism which has led to countless deaths and immense suffering throughout our planet."
The United States must also be "very cautious" in its interactions with China after the revelations that have occurred concerning the Confucious Institutes, the Chinese-funded institutes on more than 100 U.S. college campuses, and because of China's role in spreading misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, said Lee.