The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed legislation that Democrats claim will help the U.S. be more competitive with China, particularly when it comes to semiconductor manufacturing.
House Republicans, though, aren’t so sure.
The America COMPETES Act passed in a 222-210, largely party-line vote in the Democratic-controlled House, the New York Post reported. The legislation now moves to the Senate, which already passed its own, more bipartisan version of the bill.
So what, exactly, does the legislation do?
“The nearly 3,000-page bill includes massive investments designed to boost semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S., including roughly $52 billion in grants and subsidies to help the semiconductor industry and $45 billion to strengthen supply chains for high-tech products,” Just the News reported, citing an official summary of the law.
That’s not all. “The legislation would also fund a government program to aid workers who lost jobs or saw their pay cut as a result of increased imports, as well as boost funds for the National Science Foundation and STEM education programs,” the Post reported.
But House Republicans took issue with a host of provisions in the bill. For one thing, they argued that Democrats are trying to cram items on the progressive wish list into a bill meant to help the U.S. be more competitive with China.
For example, as opposed to the Senate version of the bill, the House legislation “targets more funding and related policy changes toward issues such as climate change, human rights and domestic social inequality,” The Wall Street Journal reported, adding: “Its version includes $8 billion to help developing countries convert to cleaner sources of energy.”
“Democrats are using the China issue which has broad, bipartisan public support as a cover to pass their liberal agenda. How else can we explain the many harmful provisions stuffed within this fake China bill that have nothing to do with China?” Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks said in a statement, pointing out that the legislation includes “more references to ‘coral reefs’ than the word ‘China.'”
Moreover, while the legislation’s sponsors claim the bill spends roughly $350 billion in spending, a final, exact estimate of how much it will cost has yet to be revealed.
“It has become a Frankenstein monster of other things,” Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Ultimately, Indiana Republican Sen. Todd Young predicted some of the more controversial aspects of the bill will be scrapped as the Senate gets to work on it.
“What candidly will happen [is], we’re going to have to move the policy towards the Senate bill,” he said.