As the West continues to condemn Russia’s assault on Ukraine through broad economic sanctions, Russia is calling on China to provide financial and military support. The Chinese Communist Party has repeatedly crossed red lines before and may choose to stand with Russia in this latest conflict. It’s apparent to even the most novice global observer that China is no ally of the United States, so why has the Congress so often treated it like it is?

That’s why the time to act is now. The Senate should immediately pass the America COMPETES Act — historic and comprehensive legislation that will make critical investments in American industry, address anticompetitive business practices, and start to take our economy back from China. 

Lately, pushing back on unfair Chinese trading practices has been a rare point of bipartisan agreement in an otherwise difficult political environment. The Senate has already passed the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), a bold, comprehensive bill that bolsters our nation’s competitive edge with China. The legislation benefited strongly from an open, bipartisan process, passing with the support of two-thirds of the Senate.

The COMPETES Act, the House companion bill to USICA, contains a similar set of policies to give the federal government the teeth it needs to enforce equitable trade agreements. The bill includes provisions to stop Chinese companies from selling duty-free goods to U.S. consumers while American firms are forced to deal with hefty tariffs, as well as establishing policies putting a hard stop to practices, like dumping, that have taken a toll on the American economy. This legislation would provide much-needed investments for workforce development and scientific innovation that will make sure American companies are cutting edge, and it includes vital funding for semiconductor manufacturing, decoupling the American supply chain from its dependence on Chinese manufacturing.

The USICA bill and the COMPETES Act both contain a measure called the CHIPS for America Act, which is designed to strengthen U.S. semiconductor capacity and renew trade programs for U.S. workers and businesses that are critical to maintaining our competitiveness with China and the rest of the world.

While USICA sailed through the Senate and the House passed the COMPETES Act, both chambers now need to work together to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills before legislation can reach the president’s desk. Congress must pass a historic and comprehensive piece of legislation that takes on China’s unfair trade practices and makes critical investments in American industry. We simply cannot afford for this process to be slowed down by congressional gridlock.

Over the years, congressional leaders from Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneDems plow toward Supreme Court vote after testy hearing Schumer working with GOP to try to get deal on coronavirus aid McConnell sidesteps saying if Greitens should end Senate bid MORE (S.D.) to Senate Majority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerRomney working on GOP counteroffer to new Dem COVID-19 funding plan Advocacy groups: Title 42 ‘undermines our trust in the administration’ Romney says Dems to send him new COVID-19 funding proposal Wednesday MORE (D-N.Y.) have lambasted the CCP for failing to adhere to trade agreements. Former President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpDefense & National Security — Biden huddles with allies in Europe Ginni Thomas sent Mark Meadows texts urging efforts to overturn election: report The Defense Production Act won’t bring us supply-chain security MORE famously and frequently criticized China, and President Joe BidenJoe BidenDefense & National Security — Biden huddles with allies in Europe On The Money — Unemployment claims at lowest level since late 1960s Energy & Environment — Biden walks tightrope on oil industry messaging MORE used his State of the Union address to call on Congress to pass legislation and “put us on a path to win the economic competition of the twenty-first century that we face with the rest of the world — particularly with China.”

Both Republicans and Democrats must turn those words into action and work together to push back on China and reinvest in America. Already, we have watched lawmakers from both sides of the aisle work together to pass commonsense, bipartisan legislation like USICA. To reignite industry and spark the American economy, we need our elected leaders to continue to take the threat that China poses to our economy seriously. They can do that right now by passing a bipartisan China competition bill.

Kip Eideberg is the Senior Vice President of Government and Industry Relations at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

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