U.S. House Set to Pass Sweeping Vote on China Competition Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives was expected to pass on Friday a multibillion-dollar bill aimed at increasing American competitiveness with China and boosting U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, despite Republican opposition.

The Democratic-majority House is expected to back the “Competes Act” largely along party lines. Passage would send the measure for negotiations with the Senate on a compromise, which would have to pass both chambers before it could be sent to the White House for President Joe Biden’s signature.

The House bill includes $52 billion to subsidize semiconductor manufacturing and research, as shortages of the key components used in autos and computers have been exacerbated by supply chain bottlenecks, and $45 billion to ease supply chain problems.

The bill would also authorize $8 billion in U.S. contributions to the Green Climate Fund, established by the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, to help developing countries cope.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week said the 2,900-page bill would “supercharge” investment in chips, boost U.S. manufacturing and research and advance American leadership as it confronts a rising China.

House Republicans complain that Democrats did not include them in drafting the legislation. They harshly criticized the climate provisions and said they could be used to help Beijing.

House Democrats said Republicans had refused to engage with them while they wrote the legislation.

“It’s incredibly disappointing,” Representative Suzan DelBene, who leads the New Democrat Coalition, a grouping of moderate Democrats, told a news conference where Democrats argued that the bill would create jobs across the country.

Democrats note that their bill includes all or part of more than 60 smaller bills that Republicans had co-sponsored.

The Senate passed its own bill – the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act – by 68-32 in June. Eighteen Republicans joined every Senate Democrat in voting yes. That legislation includes $52 billion to increase domestic semiconductor production and authorizes $190 billion for U.S. technology and research to compete with China.

The House bill authorizes $45 billion to strengthen supply chains and manufacturing of critical goods for health, communications and other sectors.