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U.S. Senate advances sweeping tech bill taking aim at China

Berita 24 English - The United States Senate advanced a broad package of legislation to enhance the country's ability to compete with Ch...


Berita 24 English -
The United States Senate advanced a broad package of legislation to enhance the country's ability to compete with Chinese technology on Thursday, as Congress increasingly seeks to take a hard line against Beijing.

Senators voted 68-30 to conclude debate on the $250 billion United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 or USICA and advance the legislation toward a final vote.

The desire for a tough stance on China is one of the few truly bipartisan sentiments in the deeply divided United States Congress, narrowly controlled by President Joe Biden's Democratic colleagues.

Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who co-authored the USICA legislation, stated that the US spends less than 1% of GDP on basic scientific research, less than half of China's spending.

"We have placed ourselves in a precarious position of potentially falling behind the rest of the world in the technologies and industries that will define the next century," he said in Senate remarks urging passage of the bill.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond immediately to a request for comment on the bill.

The precise timing of a final Senate vote was unknown Thursday evening, as lawmakers continued to debate next steps behind closed doors.

After being approved by the Senate, the House of Representatives must approve the bill before being sent to the White House for Biden's signature.

The measure authorizes approximately $190 billion for provisions aimed at bolstering US technology in general and $54 billion for increasing semiconductor, microchip, and telecommunications equipment production.

Additionally, the legislation seeks to counter Beijing's growing global influence through diplomacy by collaborating with allies and increasing the United States' participation in international organizations, following former Republican President Donald Trump's withdrawal as part of his "America First" agenda.

The Senate approved by a vote of 91-4 an amendment sponsored by Republican Senator Mike Crapo and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden to retaliate against what they believe is China's anti-competitive trade practices and to bar products made using forced labour.

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