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Democrats Promote Innovation Industrial Policy Bill aimed at China

WASHINGTON – Biden administration officials and Democrats in Congress are pushing to restore stalled legislation that will pour billions of dollars into scientific research and development and boost domestic manufacturing, amid deep differences on Capitol Hill about how best to counter China and confront persistent supply chain woes.

House Democrats have revealed a Invoice 2,900 pages on Tuesday night, will authorize $45 billion in grants and loans to support U.S. manufacturing and supply chain resilience, along with providing billions of dollars in new funding for scientific research. . Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that she hopes lawmakers will quickly begin negotiations with the Senate, passed its own version of the bill June last year, to settle the compromise law can be sent to President Biden for his signature.

But the effort has hit a snag in Congress, where efforts to dedicate significant federal resources to scientific research and development to strengthen competitiveness with China and combat semiconductor shortages. has faltered. The Senate-passed bill fell through last year amid an ideological dispute with the House and focused on Mr Biden’s drive to pass social policy and infrastructure bills. For months, the competitive measure was barely even mentioned, except perhaps for Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat and majority leader, who championed himself.

But faced with a Disruptive semiconductor shortage disrupted supply chains and contributed to inflation, Democrats are now aggressively pushing the bill. With Mr. Biden’s domestic agenda, the party is eager for a legislative victory, and top administration officials and lawmakers have said they hope to send a compromise bill to the United States. the president’s desk for the next few months.

“We have no time to waste in improving U.S. competitiveness, cementing our leadership in global innovation, and addressing supply chain challenges, including,” Schumer said. in the semiconductor industry.

Both the House bill and the bill passed by the Senate last year would offer a lifeline to the semiconductor industry during a time of global chip shortages that have shuttered auto factories and impacted the economy. economy. The bills would provide chip companies with $52 billion in funding and subsidies with some limitations.

The measures will also pour billions more dollars into science research and development pipelines in the United States, create grants and promote agreements between companies and research universities to encourage breakthroughs in new technologies, establishing new productive and apprenticeship jobs.

“The proposals put forward by the House and Senate represent the kind of transformational investment in our industrial base and research and development that has helped lead the United States,” Biden said in a statement. global economy in the 20th century”. “They will help bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, and they are focused on easing supply chain bottlenecks like semiconductors that have resulted in higher prices for the middle class.”

Lawmakers will still need to overcome divergent views in the House and Senate about how best to deal with China and, perhaps more importantly, how to fund their scientific research. nation.

“There are disagreements, legitimate disagreements,” Gina Raimondo, the commerce secretary, said in an interview. “How are we going to do it? How do we get it right? There doesn’t seem to be much disagreement over the appropriating $52 billion in core chips. There’s disagreement around how we’re investing in it. research and development in basic science”.

One key difference is that while the Senate bill invests heavily in specific areas of advanced technology, such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing, the House bill makes a some regulations on the new round of funding, in addition to saying it should go in the direction of basic research.

In a memo on the legislation, House aides wrote that their measure is “focused on solutions first, not tech buzzwords”.

Some experts say this approach lacks urgency. Stephen Ezell, vice president for global innovation policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a policy group that receives funding from telecommunications and technology companies, called the House bill “nothing”. enough to allow the United States to win its technologically advanced competition with China. . “He thinks that the focus on advanced technology in the bill passed by the Senate will help increase America’s competitiveness.

Additionally, as lawmakers debate how to counter Beijing’s growing influence, attempts to compromise on the foreign policy components of the law will most likely create tension between chambers and between Democrats and Republicans. In the Senate, for example, lawmakers have introduced stricter requirements for when universities must report foreign funding to the Department of Education.

House Democrats have railed against foreign policy provisions proposed by the Senate, complaining that the House is too narrowly focused on fighting China rather than investing in domestic manufacturing. Much of the foreign policy legislation that Democrats added to the House bill focuses on climate change; The House bill would also authorize $225 million over five years to support the State Department’s military education and training programs in the Indo-Pacific region.

Few Republicans are expected to support the House bill, although some of the measures introduced into the previous legislation have garnered bipartisan support.

“It barely reflects Republican input and – to be honest – will die when it gets to the US Senate,” said Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the Committee. Foreign Affairs, said the bill is not difficult enough. line against China.

The House bill would ease immigration restrictions on senior workers and entrepreneurs, allowing individuals with doctorates in science, technology, engineering and math to receive green cards even when the United States has reached its visa quota. It would also allow a resident non-citizen to apply for a green card as an “immigrant entrepreneur.”

There are indications that the House proposal could also incite a lobbying on other tech issues. It includes measures aimed at major online retail marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy, which critics say could be a conduit for counterfeits, stolen goods and dangerous products. Some of the language in the bill would expose sites like Amazon to trademark infringement lawsuits if they don’t take steps to prevent counterfeits from moving through their virtual store shelves.

House lawmakers have separately criticized the Senate bill as having trouble with pet projects, citing provisions as diverse as a new round of funding for NASA and a ban on the sale of shark fins. But the House bill also includes a raft of measures that don’t seem to have much to do with global production and competitiveness, including provisions allowing marine mammal research, conservation efforts, and more. coral reefs and a $4 billion contribution to the United Nations-led Green Climate Fund.

David McCabe contribution report.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/26/us/politics/democrats-china-competitiveness-bill.html Democrats Promote Innovation Industrial Policy Bill aimed at China

Fry Electronics Team

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