Shaheen Applauds Senate Passage of Historic Legislation to Enhance U.S. Competitiveness on Global Stage

March 28, 2022

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) – Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies – applauded the Senate’s passage of the America COMPETES Act. 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. The comprehensive package invests in scientific research and micro chips that are key to the economy and military, as well as strengthens domestic manufacturing and the supply chain.

The bill includes several provisions authored by Shaheen that would:

  1. Invest in hands-on STEM education to build a diverse workforce pipeline;
  2. Increase U.S. exports to support developing nations;
  3. Add defense attachés in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance U.S. diplomatic capabilities; and
  4. Reaffirm the urgency for the U.S. to confirm qualified ambassadors to key parts of the world to counter Chinese influence.

The Senate passed its version of the watershed bill, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, in June 2021. The bill now heads to conference to reconcile differences in the House and Senate versions, and the final product will then be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“Now is the time to send an unmistakable message to authoritarian regimes around the world that America’s resilience and competitiveness on the global stage are here to stay. We’re now one step closer to passing historic legislation that counters Chinese aggression by pushing new frontiers of U.S. innovation and bolstering our national security,” said Shaheen. “By investing in domestic manufacturing jobs, fixing supply chains and fueling scientific research, this legislation makes our economy and global posture more resilient. I’m proud my provisions were included in the final package – including measures that enhance diplomatic tools to counter China and invest in STEM education to train the next generation of leaders. I look forward to Congress swiftly coming to a compromise on this monumental legislation to strengthen our economy and security for years to come.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIORITIES SECURED BY SHAHEEN IN THE AMERICA COMPETES ACT INCLUDE: 

Investing in STEM Education & Workforce through Hands-On Learning Opportunities 

Shaheen led the effort to expand opportunities for hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education through this package. Her bipartisan bill with Senator Capito (R-WV), the Supporting STEM Learning Opportunities Act, would invest in experiential learning opportunities to strengthen the pipeline of students entering the STEM workforce, especially from traditionally underrepresented groups like women and communities of color. The legislation seeks to address shortages in STEM expertise and strengthen innovation in the U.S. economy.   

Investing in Trade Policies to Support Developing Nations 

Shaheen successfully included a bipartisan provision based on standalone legislation with Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and John Boozman (R-AR), the American Jobs through Greater Exports to Africa Act. Shaheen delivered remarks on the need to invest in U.S. trade policies to support developing nations and counter China’s influence during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s consideration of her bill. Shaheen’s provision 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 to Improve Diplomacy 

Shaheen successfully secured a provision that would increase the number of defense attachés in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance U.S. diplomatic capabilities. Shaheen’s effort would specifically expand the presence of U.S. diplomatic attachés in areas where China has resident military attachés but the United States does not, bolstering the U.S. presence and countering China’s influence. 

Pushing the Confirmation of Ambassadors in Key Strategic Regions 

Senator Shaheen successfully added a measure 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. 

Shaheen is a leader in the Senate in the push against an increasingly competitive and aggressive China, including through her role as co-chair of the Senate NATO Observer Group with Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC). Shaheen introduced the Transatlantic Telecommunication Security Act (TTSA), which would strengthen European telecommunications infrastructure and counter China’s influence by helping key allies in the region build 5G networks. As Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, Shaheen has also long advocated for serious investments in scientific and technology innovation to protect the U.S.’s global leadership and national security against China. Last week, a bipartisan resolution introduced by Senators Shaheen and Jim Risch (R-ID) cleared a committee hurdle, which commends the government of Lithuania for increasing ties with Taiwan and supporting its firm stance against coercion by China.

Manufacturing Semiconductors in the United States

The U.S. share of global semiconductor production has fallen in recent decades, but these computer chips have become essential to the operation of every day products from smartphones to automobiles to refrigerators. The bill contains a $52 billion appropriation, including $50 billion for the Department of Commerce, to invest in building new semiconductor fabrication plants and to support U.S. technological leadership in this critical sector. Senator Shaheen chairs the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees and funds the Department of Commerce.   

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