The bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, also known as the Endless Frontier Act, passed the Senate with a vote of 68-32 and earmarks nearly U.S. $250 billion to promote research into emerging technologies that include computer chips, lithium batteries, robotics, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing—all of which Beijing has worked to nurture at home. The bill now heads to the House, where its future appears murkier.
Introduced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Indiana Republican Senator Todd Young the Senate passage of the act follows an April U.S. intelligence assessment that labeled China a global threat to U.S. interests, as well as a supply chain disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic that led to questions about U.S. dependency on Chinese manufacturers.
The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act also directs U.S. Secretary of State to publish a list of all state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in China that have engaged in unfair trade practices such as intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers. Under the act, U.S. President Joe Biden would be authorized to impose sanctions on individuals or entities that have stolen U.S. trade secrets or benefitted from such theft.