US House China competition bill to pass this week

The Chinese and American flags are printed on paper in this illustration taken January 27, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday introduced a multibillion-dollar bill aimed at increasing U.S. competitiveness with China and boosting U.S. semiconductor manufacturing , preparing the legislation for full approval by the House this week.

Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration has been scrambling to persuade Congress to approve the bill, which includes $52 billion to subsidize semiconductor manufacturing and research, as shortages of key components used in automobiles and computers have been exacerbated by supply chain bottlenecks.

The Democratic-controlled House approved the America Competes Act rule by 219 to 203, largely along party lines. House aides said they expected a vote to pass the full measure on Friday, after considering a number of amendments.

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The bill contains several trade provisions and would also authorize $8 billion in U.S. contributions to the Green Climate Fund, created by the Paris Agreement to fight climate change, to help developing countries cope. .

Republicans have proposed an amendment to remove that funding. Three Democrats want to increase it by $3 billion.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week that the 2,900-page bill would “increase” investment in chips, boost US manufacturing and research, and advance US leadership in the face of a rising China.

House Republicans have complained that Democrats did not include them in the drafting of the legislation. They harshly criticized the weather provisions and said they could be used to help Beijing.

“Republicans are a strong ‘no’,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush filed an amendment last week barring semiconductor companies receiving government grants from paying dividends or buying back company stock.

The Senate passed its own bill – the US Innovation and Competition Act – by a vote of 68 to 32 in June. This legislation includes $52 billion to increase domestic semiconductor production and authorizes $190 billion for American technology and research to compete with China.

The House bill authorizes $45 billion to strengthen supply chains and manufacturing of essential goods for health, communications and other sectors.

If the full House measure passes, the Senate and House will have to reconcile the differences between their bills. The final version would come back to both houses for full approval and then, if that legislation passes, to Biden for his signature.

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Reporting by David Shepardson and Patricia Zengerle; edited by Jonathan Oatis and Mark Porter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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