Shaheen Secures NH & National Security Provisions in Landmark Bill to Invest in U.S. Competitiveness & Counter Chinese Aggression

June 08, 2021

**Bill Clears Senate across Party Lines and Includes Shaheen-Led Provisions on STEM Education & Enhancing Diplomatic Tools to Combat China’s Influence** 

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement after the Senate passed the watershed bill, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, to counter an increasingly competitive and aggressive China. The comprehensive bipartisan bill invests in innovative education, good-paying jobs and cutting-edge industries to increase American competitiveness and safeguard our national security against China. The bill passed by 68-32 in the Senate and will now head to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration. Included in the final bill was Shaheen’s provision to expand hands-on learning opportunities in STEM education to bolster the pipeline of students entering the STEM workforce and strengthen innovation in the economy.

“As our economy recovers from the pandemic and we face increasing aggression and manipulation from China, the time to invest in our workforce and competitiveness is now. That’s why today’s bipartisan passage of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 in the Senate is so monumental,” said Shaheen. “This comprehensive bill tackles many of the most pressing issues facing our country by investing in American innovation and manufacturing. From creating good-paying jobs to investing in cutting-edge industries that bolster our national security, this bill is among the most significant investments in our workforce in a generation. I’m proud my provisions were included in the final package – including enhancing diplomatic tools to counter China and investing in STEM education to train the next generation of leaders. I’m eager to work with partners in the House and the Biden administration to ensure this critical legislation to strengthen our economy and security is passed and signed into law.” 

NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIORITIES SECURED BY SHAHEEN IN THE U.S. INNOVATION AND COMPETITION ACT OF 2021 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.

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