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Military Trends, Technology, and International Developments => United States of America => Topic started by: adroth on June 09, 2021, 07:52:39 AM

Title: Senate approves bill to curtail China's economic and military ambitions
Post by: adroth on June 09, 2021, 07:52:39 AM
Senate approves bill to curtail China's economic and military ambitions
By Tony Romm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/06/08/senate-china-science-technology/

The Senate voted on Tuesday to adopt a roughly $250 billion bill to counter China’s growing economic and military prowess, hoping that major investments in science — and fresh punishments targeting Beijing — might give the United States a lasting edge.

In a chamber often racked by partisan division, Democrats and Republicans found rare accord over the sprawling measure, known as the United States Innovation and Competition Act, as lawmakers warned that Washington risked ceding the country’s technological leadership to one of its foremost geopolitical adversaries.

The proposal commits billions of dollars in federal funds across a wide array of research areas. It pours more than $50 billion in immediate funding into U.S. businesses that manufacture the sort of ultrasmall, in-demand computer chips that power consumer and military devices, which many companies currently source from China. And it paves the way for the next generation of space exploration at a time when Washington and Beijing are increasingly setting their eyes on the stars.

With it, lawmakers also approved a host of proposals that seek to limit China’s economic aspirations and curb its political influence. The bill opens the door for new sanctions targeting Beijing over its human rights practices, commissions a new study about the origin of the coronavirus and calls for a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. It even authorizes $300 million specifically to counter the political influence of the Chinese Communist Party.

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Lawmakers adopted the bill, led by Schumer and Republican Sen. Todd C. Young (Ind.), on a bipartisan vote. The Biden administration earlier this month said it supported passage of the research-focused elements of the bill, describing them as “major investments in our long-term economic resilience and competitiveness.”

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Lawmakers authorized the lion’s share of the money under the new legislation, totaling $190 billion, for a major rethinking of federal science, technology and research spending. They created a new technology division within the National Science Foundation to focus on emerging areas including artificial intelligence. The Senate also gave a green light to $10 billion for the Commerce Department to invest in new “technology” hubs, so that other regions and cities across the country can attract the same sort of economic opportunities as Silicon Valley.

Many of the federal science investments reflect an implicit attempt to battle back China, relying on new federal spending to keep pace with a country that some analysts say is investing more than 2 percent of its gross domestic product annually in research and development. To justify the expense, lawmakers cited economic as well as national security concerns, stressing that the United States cannot afford to allow Beijing to dominate emerging fields — and serve in some cases as the foremost supplier of sensitive tech equipment.

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Lawmakers also included a host of provisions that take more explicit aim with China in a move that risks ratcheting up bilateral tensions in the years after Trump openly sparred with Beijing. The Senate bill officially designated China the “greatest geopolitical and geoeconomic challenge” to U.S. foreign policy, and it committed an additional $15 billion to countering that threat — including combating Chinese influence and disinformation online.

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