US Senate China Bill would create 'chief manufacturing' post in research boost

The draft Bill would also block Chinese companies from participating in the Manufacturing USA programme without a waiver.
The draft Bill would also block Chinese companies from participating in the Manufacturing USA programme without a waiver.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US Senate committee leaders have drafted a compromise US$110 billion (S$146 billion) measure for basic and advanced technology research and science over five years and the creation of a White House chief manufacturing officer in the face of rising competitive pressure from China, according to a copy of the 131-page draft legislation seen on Friday (May 7) by Reuters.

The revised draft Bill by Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell and the committee's top Republican Roger Wicker is set to be debated by the committee on Wednesday.

The bipartisan "Endless Frontier" Bill would authorise most of the money, US$95 billion, over five years to invest in basic and advanced research, commercialisation, and education and training programs in key technology areas, including artificial intelligence, semiconductors, quantum computing, advanced communications, biotechnology and advanced energy.

The measure, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, Republican Senator Todd Young and others, would also authorise another US$10 billion to designate at least 10 regional technology hubs and create a supply chain crisis-response programme to address issues like the shortfall in semiconductor chips harming auto production.

The revised version also would create a new Senate-confirmed chief manufacturing officer who would serve in the executive office of the president and would head a new Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy.

It would also direct the Commerce Department to establish "a supply chain resiliency and crisis response programme," including "the ability of supply chains to resist and recover in the face of shocks, including pandemic and biological threats, cyberattacks, extreme weather events, terrorist and geopolitical attacks, great power conflict, and other threats."

The Bill also seeks to boost basic research to accelerate innovation to advance critical minerals mining strategies and technologies to eliminate "national reliance on minerals and mineral materials that are subject to supply disruptions."

The draft Bill would also block Chinese companies from participating in the Manufacturing USA programme without a waiver.

The programme is a government and company-led effort to build up industrial competitiveness, cut energy use, and strengthen US national security.