U.S. Senate panel to consider major China competition bill on April 14: source
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a meeting on April 14 to consider major bipartisan legislation to boost the country's ability to push back against China's expanding global influence, a Senate aide said on Thursday.
The draft measure, seen by Reuters on Thursday and titled the Strategic Competition Act of 2021, says, among other things, that Washington must encourage allies to do more to check Beijing's "aggressive and assertive behavior" and says every federal department and agency should designate a senior official to coordinate policies with respect to strategic competition with China.
Introduced by Senators Bob Menendez, the committee's Democratic chairman, and Jim Risch, its ranking Republican, the draft bill is 283 pages long.
The draft legislation is the foreign relations panel's contribution to a broad effort in the U.S. Senate announced in February by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to write legislation to counter China.
The Senate Commerce Committee announced on Wednesday that it would hold a hearing on April 14 on its bipartisan measure to bolster U.S. technology research and development efforts. That bill, titled the Endless Frontier Act, was first proposed in 2020 and calls for $110 billion over five years to advance U.S. technology efforts.
The package of Senate legislation reflects bipartisan hard-line sentiment on Beijing in Congress.
It is intended to address economic competition with China, but also humanitarian and democratic values, such as the treatment of the minority Muslim Uighurs, suppression of dissent in Hong Kong and aggression in the South China Sea.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Toby Chopra)
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