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Senate to vote on bill aimed at countering China's influence this month

Senate to vote on bill aimed at countering China's influence this month
© Greg Nash

The Senate will vote on legislation aimed at countering China's economic influence this month, Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerFive takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision Senate confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar Schumer vows to only pass infrastructure package that is 'a strong, bold climate bill' MORE (D-N.Y.) announced Monday. 

The Senate Commerce Committee will mark up the bill Wednesday, a vote that was delayed after senators filed hundreds of potential amendments to the bill.  

"The Senate Commerce Committee will begin to mark up the Endless Frontiers Act ... a number of other Senate committees are working on bipartisan legislation to improve our competitiveness and make the United States a world leader in advanced manufacturing, innovation and supply chains," Schumer said from the Senate floor.

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"It is my intention to have the full Senate consider comprehensive competitive legislation during this work period," he added.

The Senate's current work period lasts until May 28. 

The bill, a priority for Schumer and GOP Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungThe Senate just passed the next Apollo program The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? On The Money: Yellen, Powell brush off inflation fears | Fed keeps rates steady, upgrades growth projections MORE (Ind.), would establish a Technology and Innovation Directorate at the National Science Foundation, which would use $100 billion in federal funds over five years to research emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, quantum computing and semiconductors. 

As part of a deal worked out by Senate Commerce Committee leadership, the bill will also now create a White House manufacturing officer position that would need to be confirmed by the Senate and would head a new Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy, according to Reuters.  

Schumer is hoping the bill can get the 60 votes needed to ultimately pass the Senate, and underscore that bipartisanship is still possible in an increasingly polarized chamber, with frustration toward China crossing party lines. 

But the legislation is coming under fire from conservatives.

The House Republican Study Committee, which has 154 members, said in an internal memo the bill is too expensive and should include tougher actions against China for stealing intellectual property rights and for industrial espionage.