Senate boosts tech industry and approves bills against rivals like China

The Senate approved an overwhelming majority of bills aimed at facilitating US semiconductor production and the development of artificial intelligence and other technologies on Tuesday, especially in the face of intensifying international competition from China.

A 68-32 vote on the bill showed that an economic confrontation with China was a matter of connecting the two parties in parliament. This is rare in an era of division, as Democrats are under increasing pressure to change Senate rules to overcome Republican opposition and impasse.

At the heart of the bill is an urgent allocation of $ 50 billion to the Department of Commerce to support the development and manufacture of semiconductors through research and incentive programs previously approved by Congress. The overall cost of the bill will increase spending by about $ 250 billion, most of which will occur in the first five years.

Proponents said the country was the largest investment in scientific research seen in decades, which is now about 12% of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing share from 37% in 1990. It has been steadily declining to%, as chip shortages have exposed vulnerabilities in the US supply chain.

“The premise is simple. If American workers and American businesses want to continue to lead the world, science, basic research, as the federal government has done for decades after World War II. , We have to invest in innovation. ” “Anyone who wins the competition for future technology will become a world economic leader with serious implications for foreign policy and national security.”

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said the bill was incomplete as there were no more Republican-sponsored amendments. Still he supported it.

“Needless to say, the final passage of the law cannot make the Senate’s final decision on competition with China,” he said. “It certainly won’t be mine.”

President Biden praised the bill’s passage on Tuesday night, saying, “There is no risk of lagging behind as other countries continue to invest in their own research and development. The United States is the most innovative and productive on the planet. We must maintain our position as a national country. “

Senators were overwhelmed by several days of debate and amendments leading up to Tuesday’s final vote. Schumer’s office said 18 Republican amendments would collect votes as part of the passage of the bill. According to the office of the majority leader, the Senate has already voted for more amendments this year than the previous Congress, which was under Republican control.

The bill has bipartisan support, but a core group of Republican senators are concerned about its costs.

One of the provisions of the bill is to create a new directorate-general with the National Science Foundation focusing on artificial intelligence and quantum science. The bill approves up to $ 29 billion over five years for a new branch within the Foundation and adds $ 52 billion to the program.

Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said Congress should cut the Foundation’s budget rather than increase it. He called the agency the “king of waste.” The institution funds about a quarter of the federal-sponsored research conducted by American universities.

“This bill is just a big reaction of the government to weaken our country, not to strengthen it,” Paul said.

However, Washington Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell called for greater federal investment in physical science during President George W. Bush’s administration to ensure US economic competitiveness. I pointed out that.

“At that time, we must have thought we were in Track Meet, where our competitors were. Oh, I don’t know, but maybe half a lap behind. Now, ten years later, I’m pretty sure.” We are looking over our shoulders and are aware that competition is intensifying, “said Kantwell, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Industry, Science and Transportation Commission.

The Republican Party chief of the committee also expressed support for the bill.

“This is an opportunity for the United States to take a blow against the unfair competition seen in communist China,” said Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker.

Senators have wanted to strike a balance when paying attention to China’s growing influence. They want to avoid inciting divisive anti-Asian rhetoric when hate crimes against Asian Americans surge during the coronavirus pandemic.

Other measures have uncovered national security concerns and are targeting money laundering programs or cyber attacks by organizations representing the Chinese government. Infrastructure projects in the United States also have a “by America” ​​clause.

Senator added a clause that reflects a changing attitude towards China’s response to the outbreak of COVID-19. As new investigations into the possible link between the origin of the virus and laboratory research, it will block federal funding for the Wuhan Virology Institute. The city will block the first coronavirus case. I registered some.

It is unclear whether the bill will be endorsed by the Democratic-led House of Representatives, and the Scientific Committee is expected to consider the House of Representatives shortly. California’s House of Representatives Ro Khanna, who has worked with Schumer on the laws contained in the bill for two years, said this was the largest investment in science and technology since the Apollo space flight plan half a century ago.

“I’m sure a really good product will be on the president’s desk,” Schumer said.

Mr Biden is looking forward to working with the House of Representatives on the bill and “is looking forward to signing the bill as soon as possible.”

Senate boosts tech industry and approves bills against rivals like China

Source link Senate boosts tech industry and approves bills against rivals like China

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