Madison, Wis. — Yesterday, Ron Johnson voted against the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, putting China ahead of Wisconsin businesses and workers. Check out the latest from the Washington Post laying out the benefits of the bipartisan bill and Ron Johnson’s efforts to block the passage.
By Tony Romm
“The Senate voted on Tuesday to adopt an approximately $250 billion bill to counter China’s growing economic and military prowess, hoping that major investments in science — and fresh punishments targeting Beijing — might give the United States a lasting edge.
“In a chamber often racked by partisan division, Democrats and Republicans found rare accord over the sprawling measure, known as the United States Innovation and Competition Act, as lawmakers warned that Washington risked ceding the country’s technological leadership to one of its foremost geopolitical adversaries.
“The proposal commits billions of dollars in federal funds across a wide array of research areas. It pours more than $50 billion in immediate funding into U.S. businesses that manufacture the sort of ultrasmall, in-demand computer chips that power consumer and military devices, which many companies source from China.
“With it, lawmakers also approved a host of proposals that seek to limit China’s economic aspirations and curb its political influence. The bill opens the door for new sanctions targeting Beijing over its human rights practices, commissions a new study about the origin of the coronavirus and calls for a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. It even authorizes $300 million specifically to counter the political influence of the Chinese Communist Party.
“Lawmakers adopted the bill, led by Schumer and Republican Sen. Todd C. Young (Ind.), on a bipartisan, 68-to-32 vote. The Biden administration earlier this month said it supported passage of the research-focused elements of the bill, describing them as ‘major investments in our long-term economic resilience and competitiveness.’
“Democrats emphasized that their work on the legislation shows how the two parties can find common ground on a wide array of economic issues, perhaps setting the stage for progress in debates including major upgrades to U.S. infrastructure. But it was not without incident, after a small group of Republicans led by Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) upended lawmakers’ efforts to pass the bill swiftly — at one point holding up the chamber’s work for days to lament the way in which the legislation had been crafted.
“‘This is an opportunity for the United States to strike a below [sic]… answering the unfair competition we’re seeing from communist China,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who helped prepare the measure.”