Senate passes nearly $ 250 billion in science funding bill

TThe Senate passed the US Innovation and Competitiveness Act on Tuesday (June 8) by 68 votes to 32, a comprehensive science funding law designed to help the US compete with China in terms of technology. If the bill passes the House of Representatives, it would allocate $ 250 billion to research and encourage collaboration between academia and industry.

The bipartisan support for the bill with 48 Democrats, 19 Republicans and one independent reflects growing concerns about US dependence on China The New York Times. “Either we can give our opponents the cloak of global leadership or we can pave the way for another generation of American leadership,” says Chuck Schumer (D-NY), majority leader in the Democratic Senate and co-sponsor of the legislation Times. The paper calls the draft law “the most significant state intervention in industrial policy in decades”.

In total, the bill would authorize approximately $ 190 billion in spending to support research and development in so-called “key technology priority areas,” which include biotechnology, synthetic biology, genomics and biometrics, and an additional $ 54 billion in development of Semiconductors and telecommunications equipment. Specific funds set out on the hundreds of pages of the bill include $ 81 billion for the National Science Foundation, $ 5.2 billion in grants and grants in key technology focus areas, and more than $ 4 billion Dollars for commercializing technology developed by academics reported Inside Higher Ed. Also included are China-specific regulations, including a ban on downloading the TikTok social media app, owned by a Chinese company, on government equipment and permissions for Taiwanese diplomats and military to display their flags and wear their uniforms, Reutersuter reported.

Government officials in China were “resolute” against the law, according to Reuters, adding that the passage of the bill suggests the US is “paranoid about wanting to be the only winner” and portrays China as an “imaginary enemy.”

The bill goes on to the Democrat-controlled house, where its fate is uncertain. “I look forward to working with the House of Representatives on this important bipartisan law and look forward to getting it into effect as soon as possible,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “As other countries continue to invest in their own research and development, we cannot risk falling behind.”

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