Dispute over China tech measure delays vote on massive U.S. defense bill

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WASHINGTON, Nov 17 (Businesshala) – The US Senate on Wednesday delayed a procedural vote on a $750 billion annual defense policy bill, as members of Congress urged it to enact legislation to boost US technology competition with China. argued for the plan.

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Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer scheduled a morning procedural vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), but it didn’t happen until evening and lawmakers said it could slip until later in the week.

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Schumer said Monday that he plans to add the US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) to the NDA, hoping it will be passed so that President Joe Biden can sign it into law this year, or at least to the House of Representatives. to inspire action.

As one of the few major bills to be passed every year, the NDAA serves as a vehicle for many policy matters.

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The Senate passed USICA with bipartisan support in June. But the House never took the measure passed by the Senate. Leaders of the House said they wanted to pass their own bill, but never did.

Senator Maria Cantwell said the Senate overtook the House on USICA, but Congress must act. “America’s R&D infrastructure needs to be dusted off,” Cantwell told reporters.

The USICA and NDAA’s plan to combine is being opposed. Top Senate Armed Services Committee Republican Senator Jim Inhofe said USICA involved too much of what was not German for defense.

Other lawmakers said the combined bill gave corporations too much money.

Senator Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats, said in the Senate that the combined bill would be worth more than $1 trillion a year. Too much of that, he argued, will go to high-profit defense contractors as well as semiconductor firms that have shifted manufacturing to China, taking away American jobs and contributing to the current worldwide chip shortage. .

USICA includes $52 billion to increase US semiconductor production and authorizes $190 billion to strengthen US technology and research.

Reporting by Patricia Zengrell and David Shepherdson; Editing by Stephen Coates

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