Senate Democrats Propose New Legislation to Counter Growing Threat From China

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on May 3 unveiled a new Democrat proposal aimed at staving off competition from China, boosting U.S. economic investment, and deterring Beijing from escalating conflict with Taiwan.

A blueprint of the proposal dubbed the “China Competition Bill 2.0,” builds off legislation signed into law last summer authorizing more than $170 billion over five years to bolster domestic scientific research and $52 billion in new subsidies for manufacturers of semiconductors; an essential component in everything from electronic devices such as mobile phones to electric vehicles.

According to a press release, the bill aims to limit the flow of advanced technology and investment to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through exporting control laws, identify opportunities for new sanctions, and deter the Chinese regime’s coercion.

It would also curtail the flow of investment to the CCP by authorizing the screening of investments in certain key sectors such as technology to prevent U.S. capital from going to Chinese companies.

Additionally, the plan aims to secure domestic economic investment—taking into consideration areas such as biotech or bio-manufacturing among others, which Democrats say need increased funding—and underscore America’s commitment to its economic allies while maintaining “partner alignment.”

“The United States remains the preferred economic partner of the vast majority of the globe,” Senate Democrats said in a statement. “We must ensure that China’s so-called Belt and Road initiative does not go unchallenged and that we continue to support our allies and partners.”

China, Taiwan Conflict

Finally, the Democrat plan would safeguard America’s allies and partners and their security by maintaining strategic alliances, with lawmakers citing China’s increasingly aggressive actions towards Taiwan.

“We cannot allow China to initiate a conflict with Taiwan. The U.S. reaffirmed our commitment to Taiwan through last year’s NDAA, but we must consider additional policy actions to further deter China,” lawmakers said.

Schumer said at a press conference on Wednesday after unveiling the blueprint that he and other Senate Democrats are looking to work with Republicans to put together a final bill on the matter within the next several months.

The measure will need Republican support to become law, as Republicans have a House majority, however many aspects of the blueprint bill have already been championed by GOP lawmakers amid the rising threat from China.

Last year’s legislation passed with overwhelming support from both parties, however lawmakers on both sides are currently in a deadlock over the debt ceiling, and cutbacks on government spending, which could present some challenges.

Schumer told reporters during Wednesday’s press conference that he has already spoken to Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) on the subject but did not indicate their level of support for the new plan amid the current economic climate.

Washington Debt Ceiling Deadlock

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, said the new plan may struggle to pass Congress amid spending concerns.

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the United States could default on its financial obligations as early as June 1 unless Congress takes action to raise the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling.

“It would be challenging, and partly because of spending and debt—concerns about too much spending and the impact it’s had on inflation, the way the deficits exploded and ballooned,” Thune said.

In unveiling the new blueprint on Wednesday, Schumer said the United States cannot sit by as the Chinese regime “continues to lie, cheat, and steal its way to global dominance.”

“Time is not on our side. We need to make investments now that secure our global leadership before it is too late,” he said. “There is broad bipartisan support for this initiative and we have the opportunity to work this Congress on safeguarding our future. President Xi has made clear he will not stop his campaign to rival America on the world stage. We cannot stop either,” Schumer added.

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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