The Senate is expected to vote on a bipartisan bill aimed at countering China's global economic and political influence in early June, after last-minute opposition nearly derailed its progress late Thursday night.
After weeks of consideration and multiple votes on amendments on the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, the final vote on the bill was stalled in an overnight session. GOP Senator Ron Johnson argued that the procedure was rushed, and other Republicans joined him in insisting that more changes be made to the sprawling bill.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer asked for unanimous consent to delay a vote on the bill until June 8, giving senators a longer time to read the massive bill and share it with constituents. The bill was a key priority for Schumer, who, along with Republican Senator Todd Young, wrote the base of the legislation.
The bill would establish a directorate of technology and information at the National Science Foundation and authorizes $81 billion for it, and it would create regional technology hubs and incentivize semiconductor and 5G innovation in the U.S. At the same time, the legislation would work to counter Chinese intellectual property theft and would require sanctions against foreign entities and people who undertake cyberattacks against the U.S. or support them.
The measure also faced some opposition ahead of a cloture vote earlier on Thursday. Sixty votes are required to invoke cloture, which allows legislation to advance in the Senate. Many Republicans had been particularly frustrated about the lack of a vote on a bipartisan trade amendment by GOP Senator Mike Crapo and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, the ranking member and chair of the Senate Finance Committee respectively.
But hasty negotiations resulted in an agreement to vote on the Wyden and Crapo amendment, which would extend trade preferences and tariff relief. The amendment was ultimately approved by a vote of 91 to 4.
In a speech on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon, Young said that the bill would counter Chinese efforts to become the dominant global power.
"Today we declare our intention to win this century and those that follow it as well," Young said.
The delay hindered the progress of the billto investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, but the January 6 commission bill is unlikely to garner enough Republican support to advance.
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