US-China relations are rapidly souring by the day, and new legislation from Senate Democrats shows the anti-China sentiment is not just coming from one side of the aisle. The new bill, announced on Thursday, will provide $350 billion to counter Beijing.
The plan is mostly focused on building up science and technology industries in the US to make the country less reliant on China’s supply chains. The bill will allocate up to $300 billion over four years to boost US research and development in science and technology. Another $16 billion will be invested into the US semiconductor industry, an area where the US fears foreign competition.
The legislation would also require the Pentagon to purchase equipment from “friendly nations” rather than China. The bill includes $125 million in military spending for the Indo-Pacific, an area where the Pentagon has requested an extra $20.1 billion from Congress to counter Beijing.
The bill is also part of an effort to punish Chinese officials for alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It would require the president and treasury secretary to identify individuals involved in those alleged abuses, which would result in targeted sanctions.
The legislation, called the America LEADS Act of 2020, is led by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Senator Schumer said the legislation, “Counteracts the Chinese Communist Party’s predatory trade practices and aggressive military behavior, reinvigorates our alliances and turns the tables by making essential investments in our workers, entrepreneurs, and manufacturers.”
Senate Republicans introduced their own sweeping legislation aimed at Beijing back in July. At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday morning, Senator James Risch (R-ID) said he hopes the Democrats’ new bill could be combined with the Republican version.