The Senate on Tuesday approved a bipartisan bill aimed at boosting the country’s technological and industrial competitiveness against China, The New York Times reports.
The Senate voted 68-32 in favor of the sprawling 2,400-page bill that will provide $250 billion over the next five years told scientific research and development.
The legislation includes federal funding for a variety of emerging technologies and aims to address the global semiconductor shortage that has cut production for auto and electronic manufacturers.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 18 other Republicans backed the bill, which was supported by nearly all Senate Democrats.
The bill is expected to face more opposition in the House but is likely to be approved before heading to President Joe Biden’s desk.
Senate targets China:
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who helped spearhead the bill, said that the package will counter China’s authoritarianism because new technologies will shape the world in their image.
“Do we want that image to be a democratic image? Or do we want it to be an authoritarian image like President Xi would like to impose on the world?” he said. “Either we can concede the mantle of global leadership to our adversaries or we can pave the way for another generation of American leadership.”
The bill will provide grants and investments for private companies and research universities and includes $52 billion in emergency subsidies for semiconductor makers.
“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?” said Republican Sen. Todd Young, who worked with Schumer on the bill. “Today, we answer unequivocally, ‘No.’ Today we declare our intention to win this century, and those that follow it as well.”
Biden aims to boost US manufacturing:
Biden promised to sign the bill “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.”
The administration on Tuesday announced a series of steps to help boost manufacturing, address supply chain issues, and boost domestic production.
“They are going to be bringing together all stakeholders to really diagnose the problems, understand what’s going on out there in these markets and see what actions can be taken to close those vulnerabilities,” said Sameera Fazili, the deputy director of the National Economic Council.