Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the bill was incomplete because it did not incorporate more Republican-sponsored amendments. He nonetheless supported it.
“Needless to say, final passage of this legislation cannot be the Senate’s final word on our competition with China,” he said. “It certainly won’t be mine.”
While the bill enjoys bipartisan support, a core group of GOP senators has reservations about the bill’s costs.
One of the bill’s provisions would create a new directorate focused on artificial intelligence and quantum science with the National Science Foundation. The bill would authorize up to $29 billion over five years for the new branch within the foundation with an additional $52 billion for its programs.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Congress should be cutting the foundation’s budget, not increasing it. He called the agency “the king of wasteful spending.” The agency finances about a quarter of all federally supported research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.
Senators have tried to strike a balance when calling attention to China’s growing influence. They want to avoid fanning divisive anti-Asian rhetoric when hate crimes against Asian Americans have spiked during the coronavirus pandemic.
Other measures spell out national security concerns and target money-laundering schemes or cyberattacks by entities on behalf of the Chinese government. There are also “buy America” provisions for infrastructure projects in the U.S.
Originally Appeared Here