U.S. Senate Advances “Science and Technology Act” with Huge Funds to Fight Communist China

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks to the media at the Capitol on March 6, 2021.

In an effort to combat the growing threat from the Chinese Communist Party, the U.S. Senate voted 86 to 11 on Monday (May 17) to end the lengthy debate process surrounding the high-technology-related The Endless Frontier Act (also known as the Endless Frontier Act) and move forward with the bill.

The bill authorizes the U.S. government to provide more than $110 billion in funding for infrastructure and high-tech research over five years.

The Endless Frontier Act would authorize most of the funding ($100 billion) for basic and high-tech research, commercialization of research results, and education and training programs in key technology areas such as artificial intelligence (AI). In addition, the draft bill would provide another $10 billion to establish at least 10 regional technology centers and create a supply chain crisis response plan to address issues such as the semiconductor chip gap in auto production.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the Senate will begin debating the bill Tuesday and the debate will last one to two weeks.

Under Senate rules, any member can propose a lengthy debate on a bill that would block its passage. A three-fourths “super majority” of 60 votes is required for the Senate to stop this debate process. Monday’s vote was well over 60.

Schumer: The bill is a rare investment in American technology for generations

Schumer said, “We can either have a world where the Communist Party of China sets the rules for 5G, artificial intelligence and quantum computing, or we can ensure that the United States gets a jump on them.” He said the bill is a once-in-a-generation investment in American science and technology.

The Endless Frontier Act was originally introduced in May 2020, but did not receive final passage during the last Congress. The draft was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Republican Sen. Todd Young (R-Texas), among others.

The summary of the draft shows that the bill under consideration includes an investment of $2 billion to promote semiconductor production and research in the automotive and defense sectors; however, some senators are also working on measures to invest $52 billion in the chip industry.

The bill is expected to include $50 billion in emergency appropriations aimed at boosting domestic semiconductor manufacturing, as well as funding to support communications security programs aimed at countering the Chinese Communist Party’s ambitions to dominate 5G networks, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Schumer said the bill “will strengthen weak links in the U.S. economy, such as semiconductors.

The latest version of the revised bill would also create a new position for a chief manufacturing officer appointed by the Senate to lead the new Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy (OMIIP) in the Executive Office of the President.

The draft bill would also direct the Department of Commerce to establish a supply chain resiliency and crisis response program, which would include “supply chain resiliency in the face of The bill would also direct the Commerce Department to establish a supply chain resiliency and crisis response program, which would include “the ability of the supply chain to resist and recover from pandemic and biological threats, cyberattacks, extreme weather events, terrorist shocks, and (to) geopolitical attacks, major power conflicts, and other threats.

The draft bill would also prevent Chinese companies from participating in the Manufacturing USA program without a waiver.

The final package is likely to include other China-related bills as well.

White House Supports Senators’ Addition of Multiple Anti-Chinese Communist Amendments

The White House said Monday it would support the Endless Frontier Act, which “would authorize historic investments in major scientific and engineering research from artificial intelligence to advanced energy. …… This would strengthen scientific research and technology commercialization activities at academic institutions across the country.

Republican Senator Steve Daines (R-UT) said he will introduce an amendment this week to include important mineral production in the bill to help the U.S. remain globally competitive.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has also offered an amendment aimed at blocking the infusion of U.S. funds into research and development activities that face the threat of Chinese Communist espionage or theft.

Rubio’s amendment would expand regulation of research funds by requiring the Director of National Intelligence and other agencies, such as the FBI, to certify that anyone receiving funds authorized by the bill would not be exposed to foreign threats. Among other provisions, the amendment would prohibit those who receive financial support from the Communist government from receiving funds authorized by the bill.

Rubio also requested in the Senate that the legislation be referred directly to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) rather than the National Science Foundation (NSF), which he claims is infiltrated by the Chinese Communist Party, and that professors and students who receive funding from the Chinese government steal U.S. government-funded research.