Technology Momentum Grows in Congress for Legislation Confronting China
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(Bloomberg) -- Congress is moving with increasing urgency on bipartisan legislation to confront China and bolster U.S. competitiveness in technology and critical manufacturing with the Senate poised to act within weeks on a package of bills.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on a 21-1 vote Wednesday, approved a bill aimed at China on a number of fronts, including by more closely scrutinizing foreign donations to U.S. colleges and universities.
China adds few babies, loses workers as its 1.4B people age
BEIJING (AP) — The number of working-age people in China fell over the past decade as its aging population barely grew, a census showed Tuesday, adding to economic challenges for Chinese leaders who have ambitious strategic goals. The total population rose to 1.411 billion people last year, up 72 million from 2010, according to the once-a-decade census. Weak growth fell closer to zero as fewer couples had children. That adds to challenges forThe total population rose to 1.411 billion people last year, up 72 million from 2010, according to the once-a-decade census. Weak growth fell closer to zero as fewer couples had children.
The panel’s action came shortly after Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Senator Todd Young formally introduced their “Endless Frontiers Act” that, among other things, would authorize $100 billion over five years to strengthen research and development in tech, computing, artificial intelligence, manufacturing and other areas.
“It’s a big, bold, bipartisan initiative” to propel the U.S. “into the 21st Century,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.
The Senate Commerce Committee is expected to mark up the legislation next week and Schumer has said he expects to put it together with other bills dealing with China and U.S. competitiveness on the Senate floor as soon as next month.
The developments are an indicator of the broad, bipartisan sentiment in Congress to counter China’s growing economic and strategic power and to make a statement about Beijing’s treatment of its Uyghur population and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. The “Strategic Competition Act” approved by the Senate committee Wednesday included an amendment to prohibit the U.S. from sending a government delegation to the Winter Olympics in Beijing next February. U.S. athletes would still be allowed to compete.
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They've been dubbed China's "Little Blue Men," an allegedly Beijing-controlled maritime militia that analysts say could be hundreds of boats and thousands of crew members strong. © National Task Force-West Philippine Sea/AP In this photo provided by the National Task Force-West Philippine Sea, Chinese vessels are moored at Whitsun Reef, South China Sea on March 27, 2021. China doesn't acknowledge their existence and when questioned, refers to them as a "so-called maritime militia.
Young said last week that some of his colleagues were asking to slow down the legislation so that they could review it and that it could be weeks before it would be introduced. Then things ramped up significantly.
“Right now, the Chinese Communist Party is emphasizing to the world that the United States is a divided nation,” Young said in a statement. “This is a rare opportunity to show the authoritarians in Beijing, and the rest of the world, that when it comes to our national security, and most importantly our China policy, we are united.”
The legislation has 14 sponsors, including Schumer and Young. The list of co-sponsors is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats and includes some of the most prominent names in both parties. Democrats Maggie Hassan, Chris Coons, Tammy Baldwin, Gary Peters, Chris Van Hollen and Mark Kelly have signed on, as have Republicans Susan Collins, Rob Portman, Lindsey Graham, Steve Daines, Roy Blunt and Mitt Romney.
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Representatives Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, and Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican, have introduced a companion bill in the House.
“This is transformative legislation,” Khanna said in an interview. “It increases the science and technology funding in a way that we haven’t seen since the Cold War and it focuses on distributing the benefits in the funding across the Midwest, across the South, that I think is truly a new approach to research and development.”
Khanna said that White House officials have told him its a priority and he’s discussed with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer how to move it forward quickly.
“Given that you’re going to get this passed in the Senate, given that this is a priority for the president, given that it’s a priority for leadership, they’ll figure out a way to make it work.”
Industry groups applauded the introduction of the legislation.
At a time when global competitors are seeking advantages through increased investments in R&D, it’s a critical time for the U.S. to update its strategy to ensure it retains its lead,” said Craig Albright, the vice president for legislative strategy at BSA|The Software Alliance, which includes Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp. and IBM Corp. “The Endless Frontier Act takes a forward-looking approach to help ensure the US remains the global hub for innovation.”
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China launches main part of its 1st permanent space station .
BEIJING (AP) — China on Thursday launched the main module of its first permanent space station that will host astronauts long term, the latest success for a program that has realized a number of its growing ambitions in recent years. The Tianhe, or “Heavenly Harmony," module blasted into space atop a Long March 5B rocket from the Wenchang Launch Center on the southern island province of Hainan, marking another major advance for the country’s space exploration. © Provided by Associated Press In this image taken from undated video footage run by China's CCTV via AP Video, a rendering of a module of a Chinese space station is shown.