U.S. Senate Democrats launched a renewed effort to address competition with China on Wednesday, planning legislation to boost the country’s ability to face up to the Asian powerhouse on issues from technology to security and threats to Taiwan.
After passing a bill last year to boost competition with Beijing in semiconductors and other technology, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic committee leaders said they would write legislation they hoped to introduce in the next several months to limit the flow of technology to China, deter China from initiating a conflict with Taiwan and tighten rules to block U.S. capital from going to Chinese companies.
He said last year’s bill – known as the “Chips and Science” act – had set a strong foundation.
“Today, we are announcing a new initiative, one that will build on this momentum and develop new and significant bipartisan legislation,” Schumer told a press conference.
The bill President Joe Biden signed into law last year authorized more than $170 billion over five years to boost U.S. scientific research to better compete with China and $52 billion in new subsidies for semiconductor manufacturing and research.
The bill will also seek funding for additional domestic investments in key technology areas and provide a better U.S. alternative to China’s Belt and Road global infrastructure initiative.
Schumer said lawmakers would look at TikTok and other foreign-based apps while writing the China bill. TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, has been a subject of intense scrutiny in Washington and other Western capitals.
TikTok has already been banned from government-issued phones in countries such as Canada and Australia over concerns about whether the Chinese government can access user data or influence what people see on the popular app. It also faces calls from some U.S. lawmakers to ban the app across the country.
Some of the ideas in the new legislation were part of a broader China bill that was scaled back last year and eventually became the “Chips and Science” act.