The US Senate moved towards passage of the United States Innovation and Competition Act Thursday night, providing more than $200 billion to fund economic warfare directed primarily against China, but also against other US competitors in Japan and Western Europe.
The key vote came Thursday afternoon on a motion to close debate and block any filibuster, which passed by a margin of 68–30, easily clearing the 60-vote threshold. While 30 Republicans voted against cloture, it was supported by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and 17 other Republicans, in return for Democratic agreement to bring several amendments up for vote.
The bill, co-written by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Senator Todd Young of Indiana, incorporates a half dozen separate pieces of legislation, some introduced in response to the acute shortage of computer chips that has forced the partial shutdown of the US auto industry, others driven by allegations of Chinese “theft” of US intellectual property.
Co-sponsors of the legislation include Republicans Lindsey Graham and Mitt Romney, and Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware, the senator with the closest personal ties to President Biden.
The various bills reported from six Senate committees carried such titles as the Endless Frontier Act, the Strategic Competition Act and the Meeting the China Challenge Act. In their combined form they run to more than 1,400 pages. The right-wing Heritage Foundation summarized the overall bill as beginning “an overdue debate on how to tackle long-term strategic competition with China.”