National Security / Politics

Senate Passes Bipartisan China Bill, but Debate Underscores Democrat Weakness on Beijing Government

AMAC Exclusive

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As pressure on China continues to grow as a result of mounting evidence that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab, prominent Democrats are showing incredible weakness toward America’s number one international adversary.

This week, the Democrat-controlled Senate passed a bill ostensibly designed to counter China’s increasing economic, technological, and military prowess, and while the legislation contained some worthy provisions that earned it tepid bipartisan support from Republican legislators, leading Democrats nonetheless expressed reluctance to embrace a hardline approach to competition with China—some of them even echoing the talking points of the Chinese Communist Party.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the bill “is not about a zero-sum relationship or resurrecting a Cold War mentality.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who sponsored the bill, said that the U.S. should focus on “build[ing] ourselves up rather than just tear[ing] [China] down.” Meanwhile, a statement released by a group of 65 liberal organizations also cited concerns about a “Cold War mentality” and called the view that China presents a threat to the United States “dangerously short-sighted.”

In a strikingly similar statement to those issued by Democratic lawmakers and liberal activists in the United States, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the legislation is “full of Cold War zero sum thinking” intended to “smear China’s development path” and portray the authoritarian country as an “imaginary enemy,” according to the AP. Shortly after the bill’s passage, China’s Foreign Affairs Committee also issued a statement denouncing the legislation, saying that “this bill seeks to exaggerate and spread the so-called ‘China threat’ to maintain global American hegemony, using human rights and religion as excuses to interfere in China’s domestic politics, and deprive China of its legitimate development rights.” 

While the $250 billion bill passed on a bipartisan basis, 68 to 32, the debate revealed stark differences in the two parties’ approach to the China threat, making a truly comprehensive response under a Democratic administration appear increasingly unlikely.

Perhaps the most important provision of the bill, known as the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, is the allocation of more than $50 billion in immediate funding for semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing initiatives. Semiconductors are ultra-small computer chips that power consumer and military devices. Experts have warned that America’s reliance on Chinese semiconductor producers leaves the country at a dangerous strategic disadvantage.

Among other funding, the bill also authorizes $81 billion for the National Science Foundation, $17 billion for the Energy Department, and $17.5 billion for the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, all in an effort to boost American research and development to compete with China.

As the legislation grew in scope, language was also added, hammering the Chinese Communist Party on its moral and human rights violations, including the mass incarceration of Uyghur Muslims in Northwest China. The bill also calls for a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics, slated to be held in Beijing.

In a nod to the evidence that the Virus emerged from a Chinese lab, the bill finally commissions a new study on the origins of the coronavirus after months of Republican appeals for such action—although this is still far less than the move for reparations and accountability that President Trump and others have called for.

Although unrelated to this particular legislation, it is also notable that passage of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act came on the same day President Biden revoked President Trump’s Executive Orders banning Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat. President Trump issued the orders in August of last year after U.S. officials expressed concern that the Chinese Communist Party would have access to the data that Chinese apps collect from American users. The Biden administration claimed that its new approach to “reviewing” the apps was more legally sound, but many Republicans are saying the move only further underscores that Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress are weak on China.

While most Democrats seem content with the provisions of the Innovation and Competition Act, Republicans see the bill as only a step in the right direction, and significantly more action is needed to counter China’s increasingly brazen aggression.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the legislation an “imperfect approach to an extremely consequential challenge” and complained that more Republican amendments were not included. While the bill does set criminal penalties for researchers who fail to disclose foreign support for their projects, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said the included research security provisions don’t go far enough. “A year from now,” Rubio said in a speech on the Senate floor, “[we could] find out… the Chinese have stolen a quarter of the [intellectual property] developed by the money that’s put forward in the bill that was passed.” Rubio voted against final passage of the bill after his attempts to strengthen enforcement of intellectual property protections failed.

Ultimately, many Senate Republicans decided that while stronger action on China is needed, the legislation had enough positive attributes to warrant passage as a first step. The Innovation and Competition Act will next move to the House of Representatives for final passage before President Biden can sign it into law.

 

 

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Lee McQuillen
1 month ago

Romney saw China as our biggest threat years ago. Give him some credit. And, he’s not my favorite person either.

D.P.
1 month ago

I love that line in the article about the “imaginary enemy.” China does not want to be seen in their true light….lots of PR, lots of under the table support from our weak representatives, lots of their own image enhancement and we gulp it down, like cookies and milk. The greatest success of an enemy is to make themselves seem as they are not…..or even become “invisible.” China is very good at this, far better than anyone before them….and they have the will, the technology, and the support from within to accomplish what they have always desired…..world domination. And our nation’s leadership is playing the dangerous game. we will all pay the price for in the end.

Karen
1 month ago

GOD HELP US PLEASE!!!!!!!!!

Judy
1 month ago

THIS IS THE THIRD TIME MY COMMENT HAS BEEN LISTED AS ‘WAITING FOR APPROVAL!!!’
WHAT IS GOING ON AMAC??? AM I ON SOME KIND OF WATCH LIST OR WHAT????
WITHOUT ANY KIND OF AN EXPLANATION FROM YOUR CREW, I WILL NOT CONTINUE TO SUPPORT YOUR ORGANIZATION!!!

Hope McCliud
1 month ago
Reply to  Judy

It might be the use of all caps??

Judy
1 month ago
Reply to  Hope McCliud

Hope, my comment ‘awaiting approval’ was not in all caps. I’m getting pissed that AMAC is being part of suppression of free speech now!

Max
1 month ago
Reply to  Judy

I had the same problem a couple of days ago, figured some government agency (NSA or Homeland) are monitoring the site.

Max
1 month ago
Reply to  Max

By the way, my comment got approved 24 hours later.

Judy
1 month ago

This is mere grand standing on the U.S.’s part. Pouring billions into being able to compete with China…..what a joke, we enabled China’s abilities in the tech industry by not pushing back hard enough. Their progression in the South China Sea, their interference in our elections and their acts of crimes against humanity we have pxxxx footed around.
Our arrogant self serving leaders are simply trying to create an image of America as the Super Power it used to be. China will call their bluff.
Even one of Putin’s Official’s complimented Donald Trump on being compared to George Washington as a great President of our history.
And now that the new government in Israel was sworn in, things are going to get real interesting.
Stay tuned.

Joseph Vause
1 month ago

$81 billion for the National Science Foundation smells like back channeled Wuhan support and coverup money.

Robert Mark McLeester
1 month ago

Hey, China and Russia laugh at the USA with dumb and dumber running this country!

Stephen Russell
1 month ago

Dems WONT support act since in bed with China day 1

Bill on the Hill
1 month ago

Regardless of CCP of China’s evil intents both already committed & in the future planned against America & the rest of the world, the O’Biden administration will continue on as ” business as usual ” with China. Matters not to this WOKE gov’t now leading America down the path of Communism with the unbridled approval of the CCP. As the President recently stated at the NC Republican Convention in no uncertain terms with respect to China. 100% tariffs on China immediately, cancellation of ALL debts to China, this is but a down payment of reparation’s against them after what they have done. The ENTIRE world needs to get behind this…
I want to wish President Trump a Happy Birthday & a Happy Flag Day to all…
God Bless America & our beloved Stars & Stripes…
Bill on the Hill…

Ken Westenkirchner
1 month ago

Question: does the Biden administration ever stand up for Americans? His leadership style is what the swamp is all about…bow to China, Russia, Iran etc demands in the name of just getting along. Those countries have the goods (i.e. hunter Biden

Jude
1 month ago

The Obama puppet Creepy Joe is going to hand our country straight over to the Chinese. Beware, we’ll all be forced to speak Chinese soon if this rubbish carries on! I fear for our country! Where are my children supposed to go to school? I’m so afraid

Barry Courtnay
1 month ago

China need’s to be held accountable for all the deaths here in the United States, and abroad. There need’s to be a devastating penalty put on China. The world has lost eighteen months of prosperity, while China lied and keep lying. Still selling masks, hand cleaner and just about anything else related to the virus. The time has come to put pressure on our government to stop holding up this communist government. Make American GREAT again. Only believe in those you trust.

Max
1 month ago

Interesting that my previous comment is waiting for approval by a watchdog on AMAC. Don’t believe I stated things that were too radical.

Max
1 month ago
Reply to  Max

I guess I stated something that ruffled someone’s feathers, oops! The truth hurts.

Max
1 month ago

This country needs to be strong so make us that way Congress. We cannot continue to pussyfoot around with our adversary while they hammer away at us. We need to fight back the same way they are doing to us. President Biden, forget about all the favors and money that the CCP has given you and your family, in fact, give it to US Treasury to help pay some of the national debt that didn’t need to be added onto by some of your devious, idiotic scheming. In fact, all politicians (R or D) should return or give to US Treasury the moneys that you have illegally received from foreign countries and special interest groups. Imagine how much of this money somehow escaped the notice if the IRS watchdogs! (I know, the Dems own this gov’t agency). Well someday, you will face the Pied Piper. How I hate politics.

Roberto Gonzalez
1 month ago

It is not what its needed. But China is on the alert from Us. Now lets go to win The Senate and The Congress next Election.It is the last chance we have to stop the Country that we love.

Tom Sansoni
1 month ago

The U SA had large semiconductor mfg . Capacity in the past, all the way back to the 1980’s

Mike B.
1 month ago

“ before President Biden can sign it to law” . . . He has no clue what he’s signing. America, and every country should sanction China for all the death they’re responsible for on this planet. Talk about reparations! Americans who have lost their businesses, kids out of school . The list goes on, and on. When Schumer, and Menendez are behind a bill, how can anyone in their right mind trust it. We should be the front runners, instead of trying to compete with China. Imperfect indeed .

Marilyn B
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike B.

Agree

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