Canadian Manufacturing

US R&D bill to counter China runs into GOP opposition

Opponents are unlikely to halt the bill but can run out the clock on the proceedings ahead of the long Memorial Day recess.

May 28, 2021  by Associated Press

Despite opposition from a handful of Republicans, a sweeping Senate bill aimed at making the United States more competitive with China and shoring up domestic computer chip manufacturing with $50 billion in emergency funding headed toward final votes on May 28 after a last-minute attempt to halt it.

The American Innovation and Competition Act, an effort to boost scientific research and development, is key to President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plans. Its passage was still expected despite the GOP efforts to impede it, but timing was uncertain as the Senate reopened Friday morning after a nearly round-the clock session.

“We have every intention of sticking it out until the job is done,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said as he opened the chamber.

The emerging final product has enjoyed broad, bipartisan support and would be one of the more comprehensive investments in U.S. research and development in recent years as the country tries to bolster and rebuild home state industries that have shifted overseas during the era of globalization.

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It’s also a test of whether the split 50-50 Senate can accomplish bipartisan achievements when there’s pressure on Democrats to change the rules to push past obstruction and gridlock.

Senators slogged through days of debates and amendments, but proceedings came to a standstill late on May 27 during a nearly all-night session. One Republican, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, protested the rush to finish, and he and a few other Republican senators insisted on more changes to the sprawling package as debate dragged well past midnight.

Opponents are unlikely to halt the bill but can run out the clock on the proceedings ahead of the long Memorial Day recess.


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