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The House turns up the heat on China

May 9, 2024
Illustration of a hand drawing a line between the Chinese and U.S. flags

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Lawmakers are gearing up to advance bills aimed at boosting U.S. competitiveness against Beijing.

Why it matters: Countering China is one of the few areas Democrats and Republicans agree on.

  • The recent, overwhelmingly bipartisan vote on the TikTok divestiture bill has emboldened lawmakers in the House who view consensus on China as an opportunity to get legislative work done.
  • As Axios Pro Health Care Policy has reported, the House is planning a "China week," which Rep. Darin LaHood said will enable lawmakers to highlight how Beijing plays by a different set of rules.

Driving the news: A report released late last year by the House China Select Committee — which included the TikTok divestiture recommendation — will continue to guide lawmakers, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise told Axios.

  • Scalise said he met with new Select Committee Chair John Moolenaar this week about his plans.
  • "He's got a very aggressive plan to continue moving bills forward that have come from suggestions out of the task force to ultimately go through the authorizing committees."
  • "So we're going to have more bills coming to the floor that go through the various committees and jurisdictions," Scalise said, without specifying a timeline.

What's inside: The report has nearly 150 policy recommendations. Those focused on economic competitiveness include:

  • Authorizing the president to ban AI, quantum and other technology critical to national security that is owned by a foreign adversary
  • Funding NSF, NIST and DOE research for AI
  • Developing international standards with allies on AI.

"There are a number of bills that I think will send a strong message on China," LaHood said, pointing to supply chain, trade and intellectual property issues.

Behind the scenes: Jacob Helberg, a policy adviser for Palantir behind a push to connect Silicon Valley and D.C., told Axios he's planning on carrying out a series of briefings and roundtables with elected officials on Capitol Hill soon.

  • The briefings will focus on securing the U.S. AI supply chain.
  • Helberg is also part of the bipartisan U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which was created by Congress to monitor issues between the two countries.
  • "Energy and large computing clusters are actually two focal points of the AI supply chain debate that I believe is going to pick up a lot of steam in the next few weeks," Helberg said.
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