Senate Passes Bill to Bolster Competitiveness With China
The measure, the core of which was a collaboration between Mr. Schumer and Senator Todd Young, Republican of Indiana, would prop up semiconductor makers by providing $52 billion in emergency subsidies with few restrictions. That subsidy program will send a lifeline to the industry during a global chip shortage that shut auto plants and rippled through the global supply chain.
The bill would sink hundreds of billions more into scientific research and development pipelines in the United States, create grants and foster agreements between private companies and research universities to encourage breakthroughs in new technology.
“When future generations of Americans cast their gaze toward new frontiers, will they see a red flag planted on those new frontiers that is not our own?” Mr. Young said during a speech on the Senate floor. “Today, we answer unequivocally, ‘No.’
“Today we declare our intention to win this century, and those that follow it as well,” he added.
President Biden hailed the passage of the legislation on Tuesday shortly after the Senate approved it, adding that he hoped to sign it into law “as soon as possible.”
“We are in a competition to win the 21st century, and the starting gun has gone off,” he said in a statement. “As other countries continue to invest in their own research and development, we cannot risk falling behind.”
While the legislation’s centerpiece is focused on bolstering research and development in emerging technologies, it also includes major trade and foreign policy measures. Those would again allow for the temporary suspension of tariffs on specific imports and would call on the Biden administration to impose sanctions on those responsible for forced labor practices and human rights abuses in and around the Xinjiang region of China.
With Mr. Schumer intent on using his power as majority leader to push the legislation through and lawmakers eager to attach personal priorities to the bill, the package moved swiftly through the Senate, picking up provisions as diverse as a fresh round of funding for NASA and a ban on the sale of shark fins.