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Senate eyeing R&D bill to counter China, boost manufacturing


Senate is ready to approve a major innovation bill aimed at making America more competitive with China and other countries

WASHINGTON – What began as a practical effort to promote scientific research and development has turned into a comprehensive Senate bill aimed at making the US more competitive with China and other countries, including home computer chip manufacturing $ 50 billion is included in the emergency fund to promote.

The senators shouted slogans in the days of debate and amendment towards a possible final vote.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Chairwoman of the Commerce Committee that manages the debate for Democrats, said, “I really think we’ve had more discussions with people about why this is important, right. , because we had an open debate process.”

This measure has received broad, bipartisan support, but has been weighted by a wide scope of effort. As the bill grew to more than 1,000 pages — in fact, it’s a collection of bills — Republicans showed caution and senators on both sides called for additions and changes.

Todd Young of Indiana, a top Republican writer, characterized his underlying proposal—the Endless Frontier Act, which he co-authored with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer—as part of the nation’s history of innovation, such as the Moon But getting off or launching the Internet, Washington needs to be promoted if America is to remain competitive.

“It’s not about defeating China,” Young said in a speech on Thursday. He said it was about China’s challenge to “become a better version of itself”.

Biden included elements of the law as part of his larger infrastructure plan, the American Jobs Act, making a similar case that the US should increase its investment to remain competitive with rivals, especially China is required.

During a virtual meeting with the CEO last month over a global computer chip shortage that is disrupting the supply and sale of everyday goods – from cellphones to new cars – Biden has decided to “build today’s infrastructure” Explained his plan.

Together, the Large-scale Innovation Act will be one of the more comprehensive investments in American research and development in recent years as the country tries to strengthen and rebuild home-state industries that moved overseas during the era of globalization.

Senators have tried to strike a balance in raising awareness of China’s growing influence without fueling anti-Asian rhetoric, noting that hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

At the same time, the senator agreed to deal with amendments reflecting China’s changing attitude to deal with the outbreak of COVID-19. Federal funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology may be halted amid fresh investigations into the virus’s origins and potential connections to the lab’s research. The city first reported a few cases of the virus.

The bill’s centerpiece is a $50 billion emergency allocation to the Commerce Department, which stands for semiconductor development and manufacturing through research and development and incentive programs previously authorized by Congress. They focus on military, vehicle manufacturers and other important industries dependent on computer chips.

The US once manufactured far more chips than it does today, which some senators said put the US at risk of volatility in the global supply chain, as with shortages over the past year.

The Endless Frontier provision will authorize funding for the National Science Foundation, including the establishment of the Technology and Innovation Directorate, as well as research and development funds and scholarships for students focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs.

Other measures address national security concerns and target money laundering schemes or cyber attacks by entities on behalf of the Chinese government. There are also “By America” ​​provisions for infrastructure projects in the US.

Taken together, the Innovation Act is a collection of bills from several Senate committees. That has been a priority for Democratic leader Schumer, who has long advocated a tougher approach to China. Lawmakers said he and Young talked about teaming up on the bill during a workout at a Senate gym.

It is not clear whether the measure will find support in the Democratic-led House.

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