Senate Democrats unveiled a proposal Wednesday aimed at combating the influence of China on the world stage that piggybacks on legislation signed into law last summer.
The blueprint, which is dubbed the China Competition Bill 2.0, is centered on a series of pillars: limiting flow of advanced technology and investment to China; domestic economic investments; support for economic allies; and deterring China from any potential conflict with Taiwan.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters that lawmakers set a “strong foundation” with a bipartisan package last year that greenlit a roughly $170 billion increase for U.S. scientific research over the next five years and $52 billion in subsidies to boost semiconductor manufacturing and research.
“Bottom line: time is not on our side. The Xi regime is working every day to catch up and surpass the United States,” Schumer said during a press conference, referring to the Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
“There is no reason our two parties here in the Congress and the Senate can’t come together and send a strong message to the Chinese government that we’re united in this pressing national security effort and we’re committed to maintaining America’s lead in the future,” he continued.
Schumer said a number of times during the event Wednesday that he and other Senate Democrats are recruiting Republicans to cobble together an eventual bill. He said he talked to all of his committee chairmen and urged them to work with the top Republican on each respective panel on components that would lead to a larger package.
“We want this to be bipartisan. The initial reaction has been excellent,” Schumer said, noting that he specifically spoke to Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) on the topic.
Schumer said he hopes to have a bill in the “next several months,” but admitted it would be a “big undertaking.”
“I know you might be skeptical,” Schumer said, but he pointed back to the initial China competition bill signed last year as proof that bipartisan legislation on the topic is possible.
The bill advanced the upper chamber last year with the support of 17 Senate Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). In the House, 24 Republicans also supported the final package before it was signed into law by President Biden.