As the Senate prepares to pass a bill that would spend about $250 billion on proposals its supporters say will make America better able to compete with China, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is marching to a different drum.
The core idea behind the bill is that America’s technology sector — including semiconductors, robotics, artificial intelligence and quantum computing — has fallen so far behind China that only a massive infusion of government money into research and development can bring America back into a competitive position.
“I don’t think this bill makes us stronger,” he said, according to the Daily Caller.
“In fact, I think the Chinese sit back … and laugh at America thinking we’re going to be stronger by borrowing more money from China.”
Paul denounced the proposal as coming from a mindset that says unlimited spending is the way to success.
“This is about a debate about a despicable waste of money, it’s a debate about the debt, whether anybody cares. No Democrats give a fig about the deficit.
“They’re honest, they believe in new monetary policy: Spend whatever it takes, borrow whatever it takes,” he said, according to The Hill.
“Our side, most of them say they care but there’s only a few of us who are willing to say, no, we’re not going to vote for more wasteful spending,” he said. “This is about wasteful spending.”
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin added that, “Do you not understand this process — how you just get dumped on you hundreds of pages of complex legislative text and you’re expected to say, ‘Yah or nay,’” regarding the bill with many pages and multiple amendments tacked on.
But supporters portray the bill as a desperate act that is necessary.
“Around the globe, authoritarian governments smell blood in the water,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, according to The New York Times.
“They believe that squabbling democracies like ours can’t come together and invest in national priorities the way a top-down, centralized and authoritarian government can. They are rooting for us to fail so they can grab the mantle of global economic leadership and own the innovations,” he said.
In seeking to compete with China, the U.S. is effectively copying its rival, noted The Times.
“What is most striking about the legislation is the degree to which the projects that the bill funds closely parallel those in China’s ‘Made in China 2025’ program, which funnels huge government spending into technologies where the country is seeking to be independent of outside suppliers,” The Times reported in its coverage of the proposal, which is expected to get final Senate approval this week.
Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana said the bill responds to changing times.
“We can’t be wedded to old doctrines and shibboleths,” Young said.
“The world has changed. Our economy has changed. The needs of our country have changed.”
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas also views the bill as a piece of necessity.
“Frankly, I think China has left us no option but to make these investments,” he said.
“The bill is not perfect. There are elements I could do without,” said Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi. “And there are parts that I wish were included. But on the whole, this is a necessary step to keep our nation competitive.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.