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Chairman Menendez Announces Bipartisan Comprehensive China Legislation

Jersey City, N.J. – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today announced a bipartisan agreement on a new comprehensive China legislation for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to take up in the coming days. Entitled the Strategic Competition Act of 2021, the new legislation was negotiated with Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and represents the first major proposal to bring Democrats and Republicans together in laying out a strategic approach towards Beijing – and assuring that the United States is positioned to compete with China across all dimensions of national and international power for decades to come.  In unveiling the legislation, Menendez also announced he is convening a legislative business meeting on April 14th for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to take up and vote on the measure. 

“I am incredibly proud to announce this unprecedented bipartisan effort to mobilize all U.S. strategic, economic, and diplomatic tools for an Indo-Pacific strategy that will allow our nation to truly confront the challenges China poses to our national and economic security.  The Strategic Competition Act of 2021 is a recognition that this moment demands a unified, strategic response that can rebuild American leadership, invest in our ability to out-compete China, and reground diplomacy in our core values.

“The United States government must be clear-eyed and sober about Beijing’s intentions and actions, and calibrate our policy and strategy accordingly. I am confident that this effort has the necessary support to be overwhelmingly approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next week and the full Senate shortly thereafter.  That is the only way we will get the China challenge right – a bipartisan commitment to mutual trust and good-faith compromise, balancing pragmatism and idealism, and a shared dedication to finally solving one of toughest challenges our nation faces. As I’ve told my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I am committed to continue working together in common cause so this major piece of legislation is enacted swiftly and through regular order. The scope, scale and urgency of the China challenge demands nothing less.”

A copy of the Strategic Competition Act of 2021 can be found HERE. Key elements of the legislation include:

  • Bolsters the United States diplomatic strategy in addressing challenges posed by the Chinese government and reaffirms America’s commitment to its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world, and calls for the United States to reassert its leadership within international organizations and other multilateral fora. Renews America’s commitment to allies and partners by prioritizing security assistance for the Indo-Pacific region, and strengthens U.S. diplomatic efforts to address challenges posed by China in the Western Hemisphere, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Arctic, and Oceania.
  • Invests in universal values, authorizing a broad range of human rights and civil society measures including supporting democracy in Hong Kong and imposing sanctions with respect to forced labor, forced sterilization, and other abuses in Xinjiang.
  • Focuses on countering and confronting China’s predatory international economic behavior, and includes measures to track intellectual property violators, Chinese government subsidies, monitor Chinese use of Hong Kong to circumvent U.S. export controls, and track the presence of Chinese companies in U.S. capital markets. Directs the United States to provide technical assistance to countries working to counter foreign corrupt practices, and debt relief to the poorest countries who have requested forbearance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Strengthens American competitiveness with investments in science and technology, global infrastructure development, digital connectivity and cybersecurity partnerships, and reinforces U.S. efforts to counter Chinese Communist Party influence and malign operations.
  • Calls for enhanced coordination and cooperation with allies on arms control in the face of China’s military modernization and expansion, and requires reporting on Chinese ballistic, hypersonic glide, and cruise missiles, conventional forces, nuclear, space, cyberspace and other strategic domains.