Senators Alarmed At Chinese Dominance Pitch $100 Billion Investment In Tech, Robotics

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Eleanor Bartow Investigative Editor
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A bipartisan bill that would provide $100 billion for technology research to address competition from China could build support for some of the initiatives in the $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday held a hearing on the Endless Frontier Act, which would rename the National Science Foundation as the National Science and Technology Foundation and authorize that agency to spend $100 billion over five years for research into artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics, and more.

Democrats and Republicans have increasingly recognized the importance of countering Chinese competition and the bill could build bipartisan support for some of the proposals in President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, the Journal reported.

China announced in March that its latest five-year economic plan would increase spending on research and development for similar advanced technologies by more than 7%, according to the Journal.

“Confronting and competing with the People’s Republic of China is the most significant geostrategic challenge that our country will face for the foreseeable future,” Indiana Republican Sen. Todd C. Young told The Washington Post. (RELATED: Poll: Record Number Of Americans Now View China As Nation’s ‘Greatest Enemy’)

“My Endless Frontier Act will take the Chinese Communist Party head on by spurring the next generation of American innovation, unleashing more jobs and opportunity to outcompete China,” Young said via Twitter.

Young introduced the bill with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who aims to bring it to the floor for a vote this month, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In February, Schumer directed Senate committees to quickly prepare bipartisan bills to “outcompete” China.

“China and others are stealing American intellectual property and aggressively investing in research and commercialization to dominate the known technology fields of the future,” according to a press release on the bill.

“Without a significant and sustained increase in investment in research, education and training, technology transfer and entrepreneurship, manufacturing, and the broader U.S. innovation ecosystem across the nation, it is only a matter of time before America’s global competitors overtake the U.S. in terms of technological primacy,” the release says.

“Strategic investments in technologies and supply chains are important, but we will not win by simply throwing money at the problem,” Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, ranking member from Mississippi, said at the hearing on the bill.

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