Last Updated: June 27, 2022

Introduction

In 2022, President Biden and members of the 117th Congress are in general agreement that the US needs to compete with China more effectively.  Shortly after Biden took office in January 2021, the US Congress began to consider major legislation aiming to ensure U.S. leadership in science, technology and innovation and to counter perceived challenges to American interests. Both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives have come together to support this effort. 

In the Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Endless Frontier Act, now called the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), is a package of bills that includes funding for Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors Act (CHIPS for America Act). The House passed its own bill, the America COMPETES Act of 2022 in February 2022, to create another legislation package. Given the joint House-Senate agreement to conference over the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), it is expected that America COMPETES will function as a sister-bill to USICA, as both chambers of Congress reconcile their differences on the basis of the two bills.

Not all of this legislation will become law and debates are likely to intensify in the run up to the mid-term elections in November 2022. This webpage will be updated regularly to reflect new developments.

This webpage is intended to provide a broad overview of developments and perspectives on Congressional legislation related to US competitiveness with China. It is intended for general information purposes and the views expressed are those of individuals and do not represent the policy or position of the US-China Education Trust.

Current and Pending Legislation

*Status: Became public law as part of the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act on January 1, 2021, but has received no funding to implement the program.

  • Creates a Commerce Department program that incentivizes investment in U.S. semiconductor manufacturing and R&D by funding relevant entities along the manufacturing and research supply chain
  • Creates a National Science and Technology Council program that uses public-private partnership programs to support U.S. leadership in advanced microelectronics innovation
  • Creates a Defense Department program that ensures development and production capability of microelectronics critical to national security through the funding of public-private partnership and consortia of private companies
  • Creates a common funding mechanism at the Treasury to support the development and adoption of secure semiconductor supply chains and enhance supply chain security

*Status: Became public law as part of the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act on January 1, 2021, but has received no funding to implement the program.

  • CHIPS Act and other funding
    • Provides $52 billion to incentive programs created by the CHIPS Act
    • Provides $1.5 billion for wireless supply chain innovation
  • Endless Frontier Act
    • Provides $29 billion over the next five years to enhance U.S. competitiveness in innovation and basic and applied research, especially in STEM
    • Establishes a new Directorate for Technology and Innovation as well as specific programs within the National Science Foundation to:
      • Increase capacities in an enumerated list of key technology focus areas including AI, semiconductor, quantum information, robotics, advanced manufacturing, advanced communications technology, data and cybersecurity, batteries and advanced materials science.
      • Reduce geographic disparity and build regional capacity
      • Build a STEM workforce by funding for education, research and scholarship
    • Provides $16.9 billion over the next five years to the Department of Energy to conduct R&D and address energy-related supply chain activities

*Status: Passed House on February 4, 2022.

  • CHIPS Act and other funding
    • Provides $52 billion to incentive programs created by the CHIPS Act
    • Provides $1.5 billion, every fiscal year from 2022 to 2031, for wireless supply chain innovation
    • *Largely similar to equivalent provisions in USICA
  • National Science Foundation for the Future Act
    • Establishes a new Directorate for Science and Engineering Solutions in the National Science Foundation (NSF) for use-inspired research that addresses pressing societal problems
      • Provides $13 billion over the next five years for the new Directorate
    • Increases overall NSF funding to enhance existing effort to invest in critical research-enabling infrastructure
    • Provides additional funding to supports Pre-K-12, undergraduate and graduate level STEM education
  • Department of Energy Science for the Future Act
    • Increases overall Department of Energy budgets to support the construction of scientific user facilities, the fight against climate change and research in emerging technologies such as quantum information science and artificial intelligence
    • Increases support for research and scholarship in clean energy

Legislative Timeline

Recent Analysis and Commentary

Towards a Solution for Broadening the Geography of NSF Funding, Federation of American Scientists, June 15, 2022

Researchers criticize Senate plan to steer more NSF funding to ‘have not’ states, Science, June 2, 2022

Advance STEM education in bipartisan innovation and competition legislation, The Hill, May 24, 2022

Recent Developments on Bipartisan Innovation Act – Formal Conference Imminent but Prospect Remains Uncertain, National Law Review, May 3, 2022

Op-ed: U.S. Democrats press Congress to pass China tech competition bill to create jobs and shore up supply chain, CNBC, April 20, 2022

America COMPETES Act v. US Innovation and Competition Act—Summary of Key Differences and Takeaways – Part 2, Akin Gump, March 7, 2022

How a law to bolster US manufacturing and supply chains could usher in a new industrial era, PwC, March 1, 2022

Will Congress Find Compromise on China Competitiveness Legislation? Sixteen Top Issues for the House-Senate Conference Committee,National Law Review, February 23, 2022

The Competes Act Is No Way to Help the U.S. Economy,” Bloomberg Opinion, February 22, 2022

The House passed a bill aimed at boosting U.S. competitiveness with China,” NPR, February 4, 2022

House passes sweeping U.S. innovation bill, teeing up talks with Senate,” Jeffrey Mervis, Science, February 4, 2022

House Democrats release America COMPETES Act to negotiate comprehensive China legislation with US Senate,” Emily Jenkins and Shelly Castle, JD Supra, February 2, 2022

The America Competes Act: Let’s make sure it helps us compete,” Nadia Schadlow, The Hill, February 2, 2022

U.S. Chamber Letter on H.R. 4521, the ‘America COMPETES Act’,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce, February 2, 2022

The Biden Administration’s Emerging Approach on ‘Strategic Industrial Policy’ and Proposed Lines of Effort,” Sourabh Gupta, Institute for China-America Studies, January 24, 2022

Robert Sutter, US-China Relations: Perilous Past and Uncertain Future, 4th Edition (Rowman & Littlefield 2022) [Note: See pp 167-182 for more information on legislation in the 116th Congress]

What are US Leaders Saying?

Videos

Conference Committee on Bipartisan Innovation and Competition Legislation, May 12, 2022
On Senate Floor, Brown Urges Colleagues to Oppose Motions that Would Weaken Domestic Production, May 3, 2022
Punchbowl News Pop-Up Conversation with Sec. Gina Raimondo, February 16th, 2022
Durbin Urges Final Passage of Bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act on Senate Floor, February 7th, 2022
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell – Floor Speech on the United States Innovation and Competition Act, February 2nd, 2022
Minority Leader McCarthy Shreds Democrat’s COMPETES Act, February 2nd, 2022

Tweets

Notable Recent Remarks

June 9, 2022: Senator Mark Warner, a sponsor of the CHIPS Act, called for “a greater sense of urgency” on funding the chips bill, expressing concerns that “for too many” the issue is a second priority. [Paywall]

June 9, 2022: House Ways & Means trade subcommittee Chair Rep. Earl Blumenauer said that Congress can finish reconciling the House’s America COMPETES Act with the Senate’s USICA by July 4. House Ways & Means Committee ranking member Rep. Kevin Brady disagreed. [Paywall]

June 2, 2022: Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo reiterated the call on Congress to “act with urgency” on the CHIPS Act, arguing that semiconductor companies will build manufacturing plants in other countries without the CHIPS Act incentives. [Paywall]

May 19, 2022: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said congressional leaders are confident that they can pass the innovation and competition bill and “hopefully” before July 4th.

May 12, 2022: Senate Finance Committee ranking member Mike Crapo said he is open to amending the trade titles in the Senate’s United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) to gain bipartisan support on the final bill.

April 13, 2022: Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden said he supports the trade titles in the House’s America COMPETES Act, but  whether the provisions have enough bipartisan support to pass. [Paywall]

Official Press Releases

Pelosi, Schumer Statement on Bipartisan, Bicameral Leadership Meeting on COMPETES/USICA Conference, Speaker Nancy Pelosi Press Release, June 21, 2022

Romney, Durbin Lead Call for Robust Research Funding in Final Competition Bill, U.S. Senator for Utah Mitt Romney Press Release, May 31, 2022

Letter from Rep. Stephanie Murphy, Rep. Walorski and Other Members of Congress seeking GSP CNL reform in the Final China Competition Bill, May 20, 2022

[Video] Senator Mark Kelly spoke about the importance of passing the $52 billion semiconductor funding, May 12, 2022

Rubio Urges CHIPS Recipients to Put America First, U.S. Senator for Florida Marco Rubio Press Release, May 4, 2022

Senate Overwhelmingly Approves Innovation and Competition Legislation, Setting Stage for Conference Committee, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, March 28, 2022

Remarks by President Biden in Roundtable With CEOs and Governors in Support of the Bipartisan Innovation Act, White House, March 9, 2022

Gov. Whitmer Urges Passage of CHIPS Act at White House Event on Economic Competitiveness, Michigan.gov, March 9, 2022

“Sen. Schumer: It’s Time to Make it in America,” Chuck Schumer, Data for Progress, February 14, 2022

Statement from President Biden on House Passage of the America COMPETES Act,” White House, February 4, 2022

Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Passage of the America COMPETES Act,” U.S. Department of Commerce, February 4, 2022

Hoyer Statement on House Passage of the America COMPETES Act of 2022, Rep. Steny Hoyer (Majority Leader), February 4, 2022

“Ranking Member Cole Hearing Remarks on H.R. 3485, H.R. 4445 and H.R. 4521 (America COMPETES Act),” Representative Tom Cole, House Committee on Rules Republicans, February 1, 2022

House Democrats Remain Committed to Ensuring Workers and Families Can Make It In America,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer Press Release, February 1, 2022

“Rep. Richard Neal, Democrats unveil America Competes Act to boost U.S. trade competitiveness with China,” Rep. Richard Neal Press Release, January 26, 2022

Portman, Brown Urge House & Senate Leaders to Swiftly Pass Revised Legislation to Invest in Manufacturing and Address Global Semiconductor Shortage,” United States Senator for Ohio Rob Portman Press Release, January 7, 2022

Pelosi, Schumer Joint Statement on Bicameral Agreement to Conference the Senate-Passed United States Innovation and Competition Act,” Speaker on the House Nancy Pelosi Press Release, November 17, 2021

The China Challenge and Critical Next Steps for the United States,” U.S. Senator Mark Warner, Brookings, May 15, 2019