Senate Democrats Launch Renewed Effort to Counter China

    Senate Democrats Launch Renewed Effort to Counter China
    Last updated May 04, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters


    • Senate Democrats on Wednesday launched a renewed effort to develop new bipartisan legislation to bolster US competitiveness with China, building on the "strong foundation" set last year by the "Chips and Science" Act.[1]
    • The outlined goals would limit the high-tech and investment flow to China, promote investment in US industries, foster cooperation with allies — exemplified by providing a US-led alternative to China's Belt and Road Initiative — and deter China from conflict with Taiwan.[2]
    • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has argued that time is running out amid Beijing's attempts to surpass the US, further stating that Republicans — namely Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas)— have welcomed the move.[3]
    • Republican support is crucial for approval of the legislation — which Schumer hopes will be assembled "within the next several months" — as the GOP holds the majority in the House of Representatives.[4]
    • The passage of the package could prove difficult, however, as GOP lawmakers have placed more emphasis on spending cuts than on enacting new programs since taking the majority in the House. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) has expressed his disbelief that legislation with a big price tag has any hope of advancing in a divided Congress.[5]
    • Last year, House Republicans led by now-speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) opposed the $52B measure of grants and incentives to domestic semiconductor manufacturing as part of a China competition bill, which was approved when the House was under Democratic control.[6]


    Pro-establishment narrative

    The recognition of the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to the very existence of the US and its most fundamental values has cut across the US political divide, reversing decades of wishful thinking that China would eventually be liberalized if it were integrated into the global order. Americans do not want a Cold War 2.0, but they must protect themselves and the future of the free world.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Though Washington repeatedly claims not to be seeking conflict with China, its actions say otherwise. Polarized politics in the US have made it difficult for the two major political parties to reach a bipartisan compromise on domestic issues, instead forcing them to demonstrate their ability to cooperate in international matters, such as through opposition to Beijing, thus creating a situation that restricts de-escalation efforts.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 20% chance that there will be a US-China war before 2035, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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