US lawmakers back $100bn science bill to compete with China

A cross-party group of US lawmakers have introduced a bill which calls for $100 billion of government spending to “out-compete China” in science and technology.

The bill, dubbed the "Endless Frontier Act," would also include an additional $10 billion for a minimum of ten regional technology hubs and to create a specialised program to protect against supply chain crises.

The bill will expand the existing National Science Foundation (NSF), and create a Technology and Innovation Directorate within the NSF, which will allocate the funding over the next 5 years.
Focuses for the bill include the development of artificial intelligence, semiconductors, quantum computing, advanced communications, biotechnology, and the development of advanced energy solutions.

The new directorate has also been authorised to increase research spending at universities, with a particular focus on increasing research investment throughout more of the US and at historically black colleges and universities.

It is anticipated that the Senate Commerce Committee will approve the bill next week.
Chuck Schumer, the democratic Senate Majority Leader who led the bill, also said he sought additional funding to protect the semiconductor industry from supply chain disruption, after the global shortage heavily impacted global manufacturing during the pandemic.

Wang Wenbin, deputy director of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Information Department, said the US lawmakers were exaggerating their “China threat theory” and that it “grossly interferes in China’s affairs and reeks of a Cold War and zero-sum mentality,”

“While America has long been the global leader in science and technology, our superiority is at risk,” said Republican congressman Michael John Gallagher. “The Chinese Communist Party has used decades of intellectual property theft and industrial espionage to close this technological-gap in a way that threatens not only our economic security, but our also our way of life”.

“Just as we did at the outset of the Cold War, we have to substantially increase federal investment in technologies essential for our national survival.”

“This bill makes a down payment on our national leadership and will translate into new American companies, manufacturing and high-tech jobs, and opportunities for the regions across the country – most importantly the Midwest – to become a global center of emerging industry - all while ensuring that America, and not the Chinese Communist Party, dominates the critical technologies of the future.”

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