Senate passes amendment that cuts tariffs on hundreds of Chinese imports into the United States
An infuriated Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) Tweeted his frustration Thursday night after the Senate on a 91-4 vote passed a measure that cuts U.S. tariffs on hundreds of goods imported from China.
“The ‘Chinese bill’ now cuts tariffs on hundreds of products made in China. #China. Why cut tariffs on China in a bill to improve Americans’ ability to compete with China? And only @HawleyMO, @TomCottonAR @BernieSanders, and I voted against. #Strangebedfellows“Said Rubio in his Tweeter.
A few minutes before this tweet, Rubio tweeted part of his floor speech earlier today when he passionately told his Senate colleagues that the national security safeguards in the bill to protect US technological research are insufficient.
“What I want you to understand is that this is not a minor security threat, it is the number one priority of Chinese intelligence services, this is what all their agencies and all of their government aim to do, “said Rubio, referring to Chinese. digital and human intelligence theft of American secrets.
Rubio’s anger was stoked by the over 280-page amendment, making major changes to US innovation and competition law from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, formerly known as Endless Frontier Act.
The amendment was introduced by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and co-sponsored by Republican Senators Charles Grassley of Iowa, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Steve Daines of Montana , John Cornyn of Texas, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Todd Young of Indiana.
An internal analysis of the amendment described it as having four major flaws, including:
- First, it would break with the precedent by creating the first Inspector General for a post in the President’s Executive Office.
- Second, it removes tariffs on personal protective equipment (PPE), undercutting U.S. producers who have made large investments in capacity due to the pandemic.
- Third, the new application tools provided to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Digital Commerce do not significantly advance the American industry and are supported by Google and other big tech companies as a way to circumvent foreign regulations and taxes.
- Finally, the amendment re-authorizes the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), which unilaterally reduces tariffs on thousands of products made in China.
The text of the amendment included a long list of chemicals needed for research and production in many industrial and technological sectors. Tariffs and duties on each of them would be eliminated or reduced.
The list also included clothing and clothing products, electrical equipment parts and products, many auto parts and pumps, including Turbomolecular.
The United States imports approximately $ 500 billion in products from China annually. This total would likely increase as a result of the lowering or elimination of US tariffs.
Schumer’s renowned bill provides for far-reaching reforms to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and provides for a massive increase in funding, from its current annual budget of $ 8.5 billion, creating a new leadership within it of technology and innovation that would receive $ 100 billion over the next five years. .
“Management’s goals will, among others, be to strengthen US leadership in critical technologies through fundamental research in key technology areas, such as artificial intelligence, high performance computing and advanced manufacturing, and commercialization of these technologies. to businesses in the United States, ”according to the Congressional Research Service.
“The bill empowers the NSF to ensure the widest possible and appropriate dissemination of information in the United States regarding the activities of the NSF and the results of those activities.”
In addition, the Schumer proposal would significantly increase the work of the NSF in the areas of critical technologies in the national security sector of advanced technology research.
The proposal also calls on the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop annually “a strategy for the federal government to improve national competitiveness in science, research and development.” innovation to support the national security strategy ”.
In addition, the bill directs the Department of Commerce to “(1) establish a supply chain resilience and crisis response program to address supply chain gaps and vulnerabilities in critical industries. , (2) designate regional technology hubs to facilitate activities that support regional economic development. which disseminates innovation in the United States and (3) provides grants to facilitate the development and implementation of comprehensive regional technology strategies. “
Schumer hopes to complete Senate consideration of his bill tonight, but if that is not possible, the vote on the final passage could be postponed until next week. Assuming it passes, it will then be returned to the House for consideration.
Congress correspondent Mark Tapscott can be contacted at [email protected]