AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris
Lawmakers from both parties in Congress are would have working to secure agreement before the July 4 break on the US Competition and Innovation Act (USICA), a $100 billion bill that will ostensibly put the United States on a more competitive footing with China Communist. But while negotiators on both sides insist that USICA will make great strides in combating China’s growing nefarious influence on the world stage, the actual provisions contained in the Senate and House versions of bill suggest it could instead be just another toothless piece of legislation. that embezzles billions of taxpayer dollars and does nothing to solve the problem it claims to solve.
Despite relatively weak mainstream media coverage, a competition bill in China may have emerged as the last real chance for Democrats to pass major legislation ahead of the midterm elections. The first version of the bill was introduced in the Senate last year as the Endless Frontiers Act, an effort that focused primarily on creating a new branch at the National Science Foundation (NSF) that would fund research and development to compete with China. But as the bill progressed through the Senate process, funding for the NSF was quickly reduced to less than 30% of the original amount, even as one unrelated provision after another was crammed into the bill. of law, ranging from an amendment to crack down on the sale of shark fins to one of Washington Senator Maria Cantwell at donate an additional $10 billion to NASA to fund Washington-based Blue Origin’s lunar lander project.
The bill that emerged was the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a farcical amalgamation of special interests and pet projects that bears little resemblance to anything approaching a “competition bill in China”. At more than 1,000 pages, the bill nods to address the growing threat from China with provisions banning funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology and vague promises of sanctions against China for “Cybersecurity and Human Rights Violations”. Yet these measures are more than offset by blatant spending. Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) summarized the situation quite succinctly in saying“Everyone knows this thing is going to pass, so every lobbyist wants to add whatever they can.”
The House version of the bill, the COMPETES Act, is even worse and includes provisions to “strengthen climate diplomacy” and create a $4 billion “green climate fund” for developing countries, as well as some special favors for unions favored by progressives. Incredibly, the House Democrats’ bill also calls for “exemptions from immigrant visa limitations for immigrants who have earned a doctorate in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM),” despite the fact that many of these students were taken sell research secrets to the Chinese government. Unsurprisingly, while USICA passed the Senate by a margin of 68 to 32, the COMPETES Act got only one Republican vote in the House, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
Currently, House and Senate lawmakers are engaged in intense negotiations to hammer out a version of the bill that can be passed by both houses — not an easy task given that they need to appease at least 10 Senate Republicans as well as House Progressives. But as the midterms approach, Democrats will come under increasing pressure to push something through, while Republicans — especially Senate Republicans who will be re-elected this fall — may be eager for the opportunity to achieve some of their spending priorities. The political calculation therefore seems to point to the adoption of a bill that provides for the financing of Republican and Democratic priorities.
If the bill does eventually pass, we’ll likely hear from elected officials and the mainstream media how big a win it is for putting the United States on a competitive path with China. As is so often the case, Congress seems to believe that throwing exorbitant amounts of money at an unattended problem will somehow solve it. If the past is any guide, once the bill passes, Congress, satisfied with their winning message, will wash its hands of the matter, claiming to have done its part, while China continues to steal American intellectual property from her and threaten American interests. abroad.
Even the original Endless Borders Act, which would have targeted funding for American research institutions, largely misses the root of the problem: whatever “sanctions” Congress threatens, the Chinese Communist Party has proven that ‘he had no qualms about stealing every bit of American research and intellectual property for their own gain. The Endless Frontiers Act and USICA assume that China will abide by a defined set of rules, when everything from the CCP’s manipulation of its currency to its brutal violation of basic human rights suggests otherwise. While government research agencies and public universities will undoubtedly play an important role in China’s supremacy of future technologies, the idea that only they can win great-power competition is and always has been a fantasy. .
If Congress is serious about dealing with the Chinese threat, it should start with common-sense measures like further beefing up the U.S. military, arming Taiwan, and bolstering America’s critical infrastructure — an effort that includes increasing US energy production and domestic manufacturing. And given China’s increasingly aggressive position in the world, our leaders may want to start looking for such solutions sooner rather than later.
Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwestern Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @Shane_Harris_
We hope you enjoyed this article. While you’re here, we have a small favor to ask of you…
Support the AMAC action. Our 501(C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equal opportunity, the sanctity of life and the rule of law.
If you like articles like this – Subscribe to AMAC’s daily newsletter
and download the AMAC News app
If you like articles like this, subscribe to AMAC’s daily newsletter!