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Photo: Stefan Irvine/LightRocket via Getty Images

The House passed two bills on Monday that would bolster scientific research in an effort to give the U.S. a competitive edge over China.

Why it matters: There have been concerns among lawmakers that the U.S. is being left behind in science and technology innovation as the Chinese Communist Party gains ground — something President Biden noted in his statement welcoming the House legislation Monday.

  • The passage of the bills comes less than three weeks after the Senate approved a sweeping China-focused global competition bill that would authorize new funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and establish a new technology directorate.

Details: The National Science Foundation for the Future Act passed 345-67 in the House and the second bill, the Department of Energy Science for the Future Act, passed 351-68.

  • The legislation would increase funding for the NSF and authorize research funding for the Department of Energy's Office of Science, per a House Science Committee statement.
  • It would also create a new directorate for science and engineering to advance emerging technologies research-driven solutions to issues including climate change and inequality.

What they're saying: Biden said in his statement that "decades of neglect and disinvestment have left us at a competitive disadvantage as countries across the globe, like China, have poured money and focus into new technologies and industries," leaving the U.S. at risk of being left behind.

  • "By rebuilding those domestic sources of strength, we can out-compete China and the rest of the world for years to come," he said.
  • Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Research and Technology, said in a statement that science and technology investments were "drivers of economic growth and are essential if we want to maintain an edge on our greatest adversary, the Chinese Communist Party."
  • "For decades, the United States has led the world in science and technology innovation, but right now, China is gaining on us in nearly every statistic," he added.
"Moving forward, it's critical we make strategic, realistic, and sustainable investments to build up our research and development enterprises while also protecting them from wholesale theft by the CCP."
— Waltz

Go deeper

Cathy McMorris Rodgers: Congress not ready to regulate autonomous vehicles

Congress "missed an opportunity" to include autonomous vehicle (AV) regulations in the infrastructure bill, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the top Republican on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, said at an Axios event Wednesday.

Why it matters: Though widespread adoption of AV technology is still years away, members of Congress have made long-shot efforts to get ahead of self-driving vehicles and regulate them for cybersecurity, safety and other standards, but no strict federal standards have been put in place.

Oct 6, 2021 - World

NATO chief: "We don't regard China as an adversary or an enemy"

Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that the military alliance must "engage politically" with China despite its growing assertiveness, telling Politico's "Global Insider" podcast: "We don't regard China as an adversary or an enemy."

Why it matters: NATO, like the U.S., has been careful about the language it uses to describe a rising China — stressing the need for cooperation while acknowledging that Beijing's global influence, technological prowess and military activity in the South China Sea pose real security challenges.

Updated 54 mins ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

American officials and authorities in Haiti are working to try and free 17 hostages from a U.S.-based missionary group who were kidnapped in Port-au-Prince over the weekend, AP reported Monday.

The latest: Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement Sunday, "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children." The Ohio-based organization said they were on a trip to visit an orphanage when they were kidnapped Saturday.