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Congress Barrels Toward $100 Billion Bipartisan Cop-Out on China Competition Bill

AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris

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Lawmakers from both parties in Congress are reportedly working to get a deal done before the July 4 recess on the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), a $100 billion piece of legislation that will ostensibly set the U.S. on a more competitive footing with Communist China. But while negotiators on both sides insist that USICA will take great strides to combat China’s growing malign influence on the world stage, the actual provisions contained in both the Senate and House versions of the bill suggest that it may instead be yet another piece of toothless legislation that misallocates billions of taxpayer dollars and fails to do anything about the problem it purports to solve.

Despite relatively little coverage from the mainstream media, a China competition bill has emerged as perhaps Democrats’ last real chance to pass major legislation ahead of the midterm elections. The first iteration of the bill was introduced in the Senate last year as the Endless Frontiers Act, an effort that focused primarily on creating a new directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF) that would fund research and development to compete with China. But as the bill moved through the Senate process, funding for the NSF was quickly pared down to less than 30% of the original amount, even as one unrelated provision after another was crammed into the bill, ranging from an amendment to crack down on the sale of shark fins to one from Washington Senator Maria Cantwell to give an additional $10 billion to NASA to fund Washington-based Blue Origin’s lunar lander project.

The bill that emerged was the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a grotesque amalgamation of special interests and pet projects that bears little resemblance to anything approaching a “China competition bill.” At well over 1,000 pages, the bill does give some nods to addressing the growing threat from China with provisions prohibiting funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology and vague promises of sanctions on China for “cybersecurity and human rights abuses.” Yet these measures are far outweighed by blatant pork-barrel spending. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) summarized the situation quite succinctly in saying, “Everyone knows this thing is going to pass, so every lobbyist wants to add everything they can.”

The House version of the bill, the COMPETES Act, is even worse, and includes provisions to “bolster climate diplomacy” and create a $4 billion “green climate fund” for developing countries, as well as certain special favors for unions favored by progressives. Incredibly, House Democrats’ bill also calls for “exemptions from the limitations on immigrant visas for immigrants who have earned a doctoral degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM),” despite the fact that many such students have been caught selling research secrets to the Chinese government. Unsurprisingly, while USICA passed the Senate on a 68-32 margin, the COMPETES Act earned only one Republican vote in the House, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

Currently, House and Senate lawmakers are in intense negotiations to work out a version of the bill that can pass both chambers – no easy task given that they must appease at least 10 Senate Republicans as well as House progressives. But as the midterms near, Democrats will come under increasing pressure to get something passed, while Republicans – particularly those Senate Republicans up for re-election this fall – may be eager for an opportunity to deliver on some of their spending priorities. The political calculus thus seems to be pointing toward passage of a bill that provides funding for both Republican and Democrat priorities.

If the bill does ultimately pass, we are likely to hear from elected officials and the mainstream media what a big win it is for setting the U.S. on a path to compete with China. As is so often the case, Congress seems to believe that throwing exorbitant sums of money at a problem with no oversight will somehow solve it. If the past is any guide, once the bill passes, Congress, satisfied with their messaging win, will wash their hands of the issue, claiming to have done their part, all while China continues to steal American intellectual property at home and threaten U.S. interests abroad.

Even the original Endless Frontiers Act, which would have targeted funding to U.S. research institutions, largely misses the root of the problem: no matter what “sanctions” Congress threatens, the Chinese Communist Party has proven that it has no qualms about stealing every piece of U.S. research and intellectual property for their own gain. Both the Endless Frontiers Act and USICA assume that China will play by a defined set of rules, when everything from the CCP’s manipulation of their currency to their brutal violation of basic human rights suggests otherwise. While government research agencies and public universities will undoubtedly play an important role in outcompeting China on future technologies, the idea that they alone can win a great power competition is and always was a fantasy.

If Congress actually wants to address the threat from China, it should start with common-sense measures like further bolstering the U.S. military, arming Taiwan, and hardening America’s critical infrastructure – an effort that includes ramping up American energy production and domestic manufacturing. And given China’s increasingly aggressive posture around the world, our leaders may want to start pursuing such solutions sooner rather than later. 

Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @Shane_Harris_


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tika
1 month ago

there’s the greatest admission that they know what’s coming in November. just say,”goodbye.”

tika
1 month ago

cut all government departments employees (except defense) by 50%. move each department headquarters and cafeterias to a different state in the middle of the wildernesses that have been designated unuseable for any commercial purpose. start with tents. take the savings this creates yearly to fund only upgrades approved by legal taxpayers real-time that are contracted real-time. make department members responsible for keeping their own areas sanitary. all air-travel by commercial carriers only. no airports within 40 miles of any department. only government school buses into department headquarter areas. only secure computers, phones in headquarters during work hours 8-6, two 10 minute breaks and 30 minute lunch. all expenses are recorded and available to the public in real time. all T&E must have prior approval. all expenses are out-of-pocket, reimbursable only with IRS prior review only. that’s a start. we can refine and tighten as we go. let’s balance that budget folks if you want to be re-elected. do you best work. no coloring outside the lines.

tika
1 month ago

cut the size of government by rinos and dems.

barb304
1 month ago

If Congress would stop putting all those worthless provisions into every ‘bill’ they could get a lot more done a lot faster!!!

Joel
1 month ago

So that’s why Trump was so evil, he actually did something about critical concerns of the non brain dead Americans

PaulE
1 month ago
Reply to  Joel

Yes, Trump wouldn’t play along with the Washington establishment, that has been selling out the American people for decades. A threat like that is something they obviously couldn’t stand for and they had to do everything in their power to ensure no other Washington outsider would ever attempt again.

CoNMTX
1 month ago

I’d like to see congress “barrelling” over Niagara Falls”.

james michalicek
1 month ago

Congress barrels toward 100 billion bipartisan copout on China competition bill?

pete kennedy
1 month ago

RINOS yes but more importantly how many of the Republicans have ($$$$$) deeply invested in
China’s economy – example Micth McConnell (married to a Chinese woman)?

PaulE
1 month ago

Yet another example of the RINOs in Congress sellng out to the Democrats and doing nothing to actually advantage the American economy or its citizens. This bill is pure pork and does NOTHING to make us more competitive with China. It does however both stoke more inflation and increase our national debt.

Max
1 month ago
Reply to  PaulE

As you stated, BUSINESS as usual with the stupid antics of Congress.

PaulE
1 month ago
Reply to  Max

Both McConnell and McCarthy think this bill is a wonderful idea, which should have already set off alarm bells for most Americans if they were paying attention for the last 3 or 4 months. This pile of pork has been building a head of steam for months already and now, as it is just days away from passage, AMAC decides to run a filler piece at the last minute.

Norma
1 month ago
Reply to  PaulE

They are all in it for the$$$$$, both sides- This is all preplanned and it is working to destroy us from within, this is well on it’s way, sadly.

PaulE
1 month ago
Reply to  Norma

Yes, just a few days from final passage and Biden’s signature.

Jeb
1 month ago

I understand that it would be hard for the US to slip into a depression like the Great Depression due to the safeguards that have been put in place. My question: are the safeguards strong enough to hold with continued spend such as this pending bill?

Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeb

We are rapidly approaching 16% actual inflation rate using the original calculation formula used up to 1986. The congress and the current potus (not worthy of Capitals…) cannot get it through their collectively thick heads that we cannot spend ourselves out of this rapidly approaching and overwheming tidal wave of debt these elected idiots have spent us into!!!

Stephen Russell
1 month ago

Pull ALL US companies from China No exceptions

CoNMTX
1 month ago

Won’t happen. Too many politicians invested in China and China completely owns the Biden family; lock, stock, & Hunter. I can’t imagine Hunter would be worth much unless they sold him by the pound to a dog food company.

HocasPocas
1 month ago
Reply to  CoNMTX

I wouldn’t want to even feed that pile of dung to my dogs. Pigs may be interested in it, but they are probably smarter than the politicians in Washington and beyond. Pigs would probably walk away from it too

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