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Risch, Menendez Statement on Committee Passage of Comprehensive, Bipartisan China Bill

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today applauded committee passage of their bipartisan, comprehensive China legislation. Entitled the Strategic Competition Act, the legislation is an unprecedented, bipartisan effort to mobilize all United States strategic, economic, and diplomatic tools for an Indo-Pacific strategy that enables the U.S. government to compete effectively with the People’s Republic of China and the challenges it poses to our national and economic security for decades to come.

The Strategic Competition Act advances concrete cooperation with alliances and partnerships; restores American leadership of international and regional organizations; addresses China’s predatory economic practices; emphasizes economic strength and innovation in technology and digital connectivity; and grounds U.S. policy in our nation’s values and highest aspirations. With today’s markup, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee becomes the first committee in the Senate to act on comprehensive China legislation this Congress.

“From the beginning, I have said that any China legislation needs to be strong, actionable, and truly bipartisan. I believe the package we passed out of committee today meets those criteria,” said Ranking Member Risch. “As it is written, this legislation addresses my top priority: confronting the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) political influence across our higher education institutions. CCP influence undermines freedom of speech and debate on campus, and poses real risks of intellectual property theft. Expanding the scope of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to review foreign contributions in U.S. higher education institutions will give us the ability to address these issues, and I look forward to working with Senator Menendez to ensure this critical provision reaches the president’s desk for signature. As Congress and the administration continue to focus on the challenges posed by the CCP, we must ensure that we are truly highlighting America’s free market means of competitiveness.”

“There has been no shortage of discussion in recent years about the need to reimagine our nation’s competitive posture towards China. There has, however, been a lack of results – until today. With this overwhelming bipartisan vote, the Strategic Competition Act becomes the first of what we hope will be a cascade of legislative activity for our nation to finally meet the China challenge across every dimension of power, political, diplomatic, economic, innovation, military and even cultural,” said Chairman Menendez. “There should be little doubt that China and the Communist Party under Xi Jinping’s brand of hyper-nationalism is unlike any challenge America has ever faced. That is why today, with this bill, I am more confident than ever in our ability to send a bill for President Biden’s signature that lays out a new Indo-Pacific policy and strategy for a more prosperous and secure future for the United States, and for the world. I am very proud to have our Committee lead the way in this Senate-wide effort and thank Ranking Member Risch and all our Committee colleagues for their contributions to getting this unprecedented legislation over the finish line.”

Key provisions of the Strategic Competition Act include:

  • Bolsters the United States’ diplomatic strategy in addressing challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China and reaffirms America’s commitment to its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world.
  • 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 diplomatic and economic engagement and security assistance for the Indo-Pacific region, assuring the State Department is organized and well-resourced for strategic competition, and strengthening U.S. diplomatic efforts to address challenges posed by China around the world.
  • Invests in universal values, authorizing a broad range of human rights and civil society measures including supporting democracy in Hong Kong, genuine autonomy for Tibet, and imposing sanctions with respect to forced labor, forced sterilization, and other abuses in Xinjiang.
  • Focuses on confronting and countering China’s predatory international economic behavior, and includes measures to counter intellectual property violations and Chinese government subsidies, to monitor Chinese use of Hong Kong to circumvent U.S. export controls, and to 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.
  • Strengthens American competitiveness with investments in science and technology, global infrastructure development, and digital connectivity and cybersecurity partnerships.
  • Counters CCP influence and malign operations, especially in American universities, by requiring the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to review certain foreign gifts and contracts.
  • 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.
  • Authorizes the U.S. Governor to the Inter-American Development Bank to vote in favor of a 10th IDB general capital increase and requires U.S. diplomatic engagement in support of a capital increase to counter China’s efforts in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Includes critical provisions to increase transparency for Congress and the American public related to international agreements.