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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) during a press conference on May 25. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Senate voted 68-30 on Thursday to advance a sweeping China-focused global competition bill, clearing a major procedural hurdle after concerns over potential Republican opposition.

Why it matters: The bill, which faces additional debate before a vote is held on final passage, is seen as a litmus test for whether Republicans could work with Democrats on any legislation in the deeply divided Senate. The vote was held open for hours after Republicans negotiated more time to vote on amendments.

Context: The foundation of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act is a wide-ranging bipartisan proposal from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) that would establish a technology directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF).

  • In February, Schumer asked both Democratic committee chairs and their ranking Republicans to work on measures that could be included in a broader package to bolster the tech sector, manufacturing and research as the U.S. competes with China.
  • The resulting $200 billion proposal, subject to final changes, had input from half a dozen Senate committees, a sign of the bipartisan consensus for the need to outcompete China, according to Schumer.
  • It would provide $52 billion to support domestic semiconductor manufacturing, $16.9 billion to the Energy Department for R&D and energy-related supply chains, and $10 billion to NASA’s human landing systems program, among other provisions.

What they're saying: "This is not a minor bill. Just because there's not partisan fighting doesn’t mean it's not one of the most important bills we have passed in a very long time. And we'll look back in history and say this was a moment when America got a grip back on itself and moved forward after several years of languishing, at best," Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

What to watch: The Senate will continue debating the bill and could hold another procedural vote to advance the Endless Frontier Act, an underlying bill that would authorize $81 billion for the National Science Foundation from fiscal year 2022 to 2026.

Go deeper

Corporations prepare to lobby against Biden's $3.5 trillion plan

President Biden speaks about his economic plan in February as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen listens. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Political groups representing some of the biggest corporations in America — including Disney, Pfizer and ExxonMobil — are preparing a massive lobbying campaign against key pieces of President Biden's economic agenda, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The lobbying blitz could make passing the $3.5 trillion plan — Biden's signature domestic legislation — even more difficult. It already faces an uphill battle in the Senate where Democrats hold a slim majority and cannot lose a single vote.

2 hours ago - Health

Axios AM Deep Dive: Covid forever

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It was 563 days ago that the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by healthcare reporter Caitlin Owens, looks at our Covid future.

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court judge on Friday temporarily blocked New York City schools from enforcing a vaccine mandate for school employees, days before it was set to take effect, AP reports.

Driving the news: The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system.