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Senate passes bill to boost US tech industry, counter rivals – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2021-06-08 21:52:22 –

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.

Washington (AP) -The Senate approves 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. Did.

A 68-32 vote on the bill shows that China’s economic confrontation is 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 must invest in innovation.” Schumaer, DN.Y. “Whoever wins the competition for future technology will become a world economic leader with serious implications for diplomatic policy and national security.” Let’s

Kentucky Senate Minority Party Secretary of State 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 Joe Biden praised the passage of the bill on Tuesday night, saying: The United States must maintain its position as the most innovative and productive country on the planet. ”

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. The Senate also said it has already voted for more amendments this year than it had made in the last Republican-controlled parliament.

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.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said Congress should cut the Foundation’s budget rather than increase it. He called the institution 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, Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, D-Wash, said that during President George W. Bush’s administration, the federal government’s greater investment in physical science was required to ensure US economic competitiveness. It was.

“At that time, we must have thought we were at the meet of the truck where our competitors were. Now, ten years later, we look at our shoulders and the competition is intensifying. I’m sure you’re aware, “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 to answer the unfair competition we see from communist China,” said Senator Roger Wicker of R-Miss.

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. US infrastructure projects 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. D-Calif. Rep. Ro Khanna, who has worked with Schumer for two years on the legislation contained in the bill, 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.”

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AP Parliamentary correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

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Senate passes bill to boost US tech industry, counter rivals Source link Senate passes bill to boost US tech industry, counter rivals

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