May 24, 2022

House passes bill aimed at boosting US competitiveness with China

On Friday of last week, the House of Representatives approved far-reaching legislation purportedly meant to boost American competitiveness in relation to China, and though Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) touted the measure’s ability to help “keep America No. 1,” not everyone on the Republican side of the aisle is convinced of its merits, as Fox News reports.

The bill, known as the America COMPETES Act of 2022, was approved on an almost completely party-line vote of 222-210, with one Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois voting for the measure and one Democrat, Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida, voting against it, as The Hill noted.

Included in the legislation are measures intended to help remedy the worldwide semiconductor chip shortage and to address problems with the supply chain on the U.S. side of the ledger, concerns that have caused inflation to rise in recent months.

According to The Hill, the measure also includes provisions sanctioning the Chinese government for human rights abuses and establishing a so-called “China Watcher” initiative in which Foreign Service officers would “monitor and combat Chinese malign influence” at American posts across the globe.

“The America COMPETES Act will ensure that America is preeminent in manufacturing, innovation, and economic strength, and can out-compete any nation,” Pelosi said on Friday, prior to the chamber’s vote approving the bill.

Republicans noted, however, that Democrats added a series of onerous climate change-related provisions such as the designation of $8 billion over two years for the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund, among other elements many on the GOP side believe negate some of the beneficial aspects of the overall bill.

As House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) declared, “While it contains some provisions supported by Republicans, Speaker Pelosi is holding these good ideas hostage by using this 3,000 page bill as a vehicle for the party’s far-left agenda.”

GOP Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO) voiced similar reservations, calling the measure the America CONCEDES Act and telling Fox News, “Instead of acting in the best interests of Americans, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have pushed a liberal special interest wish list, filled with irrelevant and harmful policies.”

The passage of this bill comes many months after the Senate approved its own version of the legislation, and following Friday’s successful vote in the House, both the upper and lower chambers will need to come together on a final compromise capable of gaining the support of at least 10 GOP senators, and it remains to be seen whether that is a feat achievable anytime soon.

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