Schrier, Newhouse Weigh in on America COMPETES Act
The America COMPETES Act is moving on to the U.S. Senate after passing out of the House of Representatives last week along mostly party lines.
All but one Democrat voted in favor of the bill, while one Republican broke rank and voted to approve.
The legislation aims in part to repair supply chain issues and decrease America's dependence on foreign markets for critical products, all part of an overall effort to outcompete countries like China.
The roughly $350 billion America COMPETES Act includes $52 billion to boost U.S. semiconductor manufacturing and $45 billion to strengthen the country's supply chain.
The act contains three bills that 8th District Representative Kim Schrier has co-sponsored. One bill, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, is meant to crack down on international shipping companies.
"They're almost like a cartel." said Schrier, "They have been charging unreasonable fees. There are fees at the ports, and then there are additional fees just for carrying oversees that have increased as much as tenfold during the last year."
Schrier also co-sponsored the Critical Infrastructure Manufacturing Feasibility Act, which looks to identify how the United States can manufacture more goods, and the Data Transparency and Drug Safety Act, a bill that aims to give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to go after companies that provide false information about their products.
Meanwhile, many House Republicans are dragging the America COMPETES package for not doing enough despite its hefty price tag.
4th District Representative Dan Newhouse says much of the legislation doesn't go toward competing with China and some funds may even end up going to China through payments to the United Nations.
"The senate put together a bill that was bipartisan in nature. It had input from Republicans and Democrats, and I think really got closer to addressing the issue of China and making sure that we can compete on a level playing field with them," stated Newhouse.
The United States Innovation and Competition Act was passed in June of last year in a 68-32 vote.
Newhouse also took issue with the fact that House Republicans were largely left out of the legislative process on America COMPETES and received the package, which is almost 3,000 pages, only a couple of days before it was voted on.
Schrier contends that America COMPETES is the right path forward in dealing with an empowered China.
"Look the way that we out-compete China is by bringing manufacturing home here." said Schrier, "We have the best and the brightest and the best educational institutions. If we can use our brain power and put it together with manufacturing, that is how we out-compete China."
The package now moves on to the Senate. Negotiations for a compromise bill between the House and Senate bills will begin soon.