As the U.S. House of Representatives considers the “America Competes Act” to promote U.S. competitiveness with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), some say it may have the opposite effect.
The 2,900-page bill—intended to enhance the nation’s competitive power by promoting policies that foster technological advancement—was the House’s response to the Senate’s bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which was passed in June of last year.
However, GOP lawmakers say the House’s bill is watered down compared to the Senate’s, containing policies to ease inflation rather than promoting the nation’s competitive power via policies that both foster technological innovation and even the playing field regarding the CCP.
“[The America Competes Act] is a slush fund of taxpayer money,” Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Calif.) told The Epoch Times, adding that the bill would add over $300 billion in new spending.
“This bill has a lot of flaws, but we are actually introducing more amendments that will go after the CCP and make them be more responsible and transparent.”
One of Steel’s amendments would call for the reclassification of China as a “developing nation”—meaning the country is less industrialized and holds less economic power—within the Paris Climate Agreement, an international treaty that requires countries to limit carbon emissions. Developing countries are given more slack standards.
“They actually describe China as a developing country,” Steel said. “China is the number two largest economy in the world. You cannot put them as a developing country to begin with and I think it’s time to hold them to the same standard as rest of the world.”
Steel added that China is the world’s largest polluter, producing 28 percent of the world’s emissions.
“You cannot categorize them as a developing country and let them get away from [being held to the same standards],” she said.
Another one of Steel’s amendments requires China to match emissions-cutting targets established by the United States. Steel said House Democrats crammed the America Competes Act full of “green” measures, yet never held China to the same standard.
“If Democrats hold America to all these environmental issues at a certain level, then why doesn’t China have to meet exactly the same standards?” she said.
Steel added another amendment that prohibits Chinese, Russian, North Korean, or Iranian state-owned enterprises from having ownership of a company that has a contract for the operation or management of a U.S. port.
Steel cited a U.S. Naval War College investigation, saying Chinese state-owned enterprises hold ownership stakes in terminals at five different U.S. ports, including Long Beach, Los Angeles, Seattle, Miami, and Houston.
“I think the U.S. is the only place where China has taken on major stakes in the port operations,” Steel said, noting it’s dangerous to give contracts for operational management of the ports to other countries.
Steel also created an amendment stating the United States should resume diplomatic relations with Taiwan and recognize them as an independent country from China.
The House passed the controversial America Competes Act in a mostly party-line 222–210 vote on Friday morning.
Steel’s amendment seeking to require the CCP to match emissions-cutting targets established by the United States was approved by the House on Friday with 65 House Democrats and 200 House Republicans voting in support.