Jul 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Conservatives write own China bill

Two Chinese science groups are seen meeting in the Great Hall of the People.

Members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering meet in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in May. Photo: Gao Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images

The largest bloc of House conservatives has drafted a 300-page counterproposal to the Senate's sprawling bipartisan China bill, planning to circulate it to members Friday, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) won approval for his China bill, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, with the support of 18 Republicans last month. While the GOP doesn't control the House, the proposal is an attempt to peel away Republican support for Schumer's bill and attract support from House members opposing it.

  • Both parties largely agree on the urgency of ensuring the U.S. outcompetes China on the world stage — including by revitalizing U.S. manufacturing and research, and cracking down on Beijing's economic abuses.
  • The bipartisan legislation has been hailed as a symbol of congressional cooperation.

Driving the news: The counterproposal is being drafted by the Republican Study Committee (RSC), which includes 154 House Republicans.

  • The group calls its measure "the most serious and comprehensive effort this Congress to take on the threat of China," according to a copy of the draft outline obtained by Axios.
  • The RSC proposal, which remains untitled, would cost $1 billion — far less than the $200 billion-plus price tag for the Senate's bill.

Details: The measure builds off of a series of proposals put forth by conservatives in both parties and is broken into 11 sections:

  • Countering China’s Malign Influence
  • China’s Role in COVID-19
  • Medical Supply Chains
  • Investment, Research and Development
  • Education
  • Democracy, Human Rights and Taiwan
  • Defense
  • Protection of Intellectual Property
  • Financial Services
  • Rescinding State and Local Bailout Funds
  • National Security Authorizations

State of play: The group will blast out the eight-page outline Friday and begin soliciting feedback, with the goal of introducing a final version in the coming weeks, said an aide to Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), chairman of the RSC.

Be smart: The drafting of a counterproposal by the RSC underscores the group's belief that other legislative efforts are too expensive and don't do enough to counter China.

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