Historic Bipartisan Legislation to Counter China’s Growing Influence Clears Senate Foreign Relations Committee with Shaheen Amendments

April 21, 2021

Shaheen delivered remarks on her amendment to invest in U.S. trade policies to support developing nations and counter China’s influence.

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after successfully adding three amendments to the Strategic Competition Act of 2021, which cleared the Committee on a bipartisan vote. The historic legislation would develop U.S. policy to address strategic, economic and diplomatic tools for a global strategy that will allow the United States to confront the challenges that China poses to the United States. Shaheen’s amendments would increase U.S. exports to support developing nations, add defense attachés in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance U.S. diplomatic capabilities and reaffirm the urgency for the U.S. to confirm qualified ambassadors to key parts of the world to counter Chinese influence.

“Maintaining U.S. global leadership and an economic competitive edge over China is critical to our domestic and foreign policy priorities. The comprehensive, bipartisan legislation cleared by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today is an indicator of Congress’ commitment to develop a meaningful strategy in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China’s growing influence,” said Shaheen. “I’m particularly pleased that my bipartisan amendment with Senators Durbin and Boozman was included, which would invest in U.S. trade policies to support developing nations, disrupt China’s manipulative trade influence and enhance American job creation. This amendment, as well as my other amendments that boost U.S. diplomatic capabilities around the world, are important to both U.S. national and economic security and I’m very pleased to see the full bill clear the committee on a bipartisan basis. I look forward to seeing this legislation continue to garner bipartisan support as it makes its way through Congress.”

Watch Shaheen’s remarks about her amendment to invest U.S. trade policies to support developing nations and counter China’s influence here.

Shaheen’s amendments to the Strategic Competition Act of 2021 include:

  • Investing in trade policies to support developing nations: Shaheen successfully added an amendment based on bipartisan legislation with Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and John Boozman (R-AR), the American Jobs through Greater Exports to Africa Act. Shaheen’s amendment aims to create American jobs by increasing the number of U.S. exports to Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean by at least 200 percent in real dollar value within ten years of enactment of the law. It would help American businesses compete against Chinese economic interests on the continent.
  • Increasing U.S. defense attachés:  Shaheen successfully added an amendment that would increase the number of defense attachés in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance U.S. diplomatic capabilities. Shaheen’s amendment would specifically expand the presence of U.S. diplomatic attachés in areas where China has a resident military attachés but the United States does not, bolstering the U.S. presence and countering China’s influence.
  • Reaffirming Congress’ commitment to fill ambassadorship positions: Senator Shaheen successfully added an amendment that would emphasize the importance of the administration nominating qualified ambassadors as quickly as possible – especially to countries in Central and South America – to ensure the United States is diplomatically positioned to blunt Chinese influence efforts in those areas. 

The Strategic Competition Act of 2021 will next be considered by the full Senate. More on the legislation here.