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Senate to vote on bipartisan bill aimed at countering China’s influence

The Senate is expected to vote on a bipartisan bill aimed at countering China’s global economic and political influence, after last-minute opposition nearly derailed its progress late Thursday night.

After weeks of consideration and multiple votes on amendments on the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, the final vote on the bill was stalled in an overnight session. GOP Senator Ron Johnson argued that the procedure was rushed, and was joined by other Republicans in insisting that more changes be made to the sprawling bill.

Multiple Republican senators are expected to speak before the final vote on the bill, but it is still expected to pass.

“We have every intention of sticking it out until the job is done,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said as he opened the chamber on Friday. The bill was a key priority for Schumer, who wrote the base of it with Republican Senator Todd Young.

The bill also faced some opposition ahead of a cloture vote earlier on Thursday. Sixty votes are required to invoke cloture, which allows legislation to advance. Many Republicans had been particularly frustrated about the lack of a vote on a bipartisan trade amendment by GOP Senator Mike Crapo and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, the ranking member and chair of the Senate Finance Committee respectively.

But hasty negotiations resulted in agreement to vote on the Wyden and Crapo amendment, which would extend trade preferences and tariff relief. Cloture was invoked and the amendment was approved by a vote of 91 to 4.

In a speech on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon, Young said that the bill would counter Chinese efforts to become the dominant global power.

“Today we declare our intention to win this century and those that follow it as well,” Young said.

The delay has also hindered the progress of another bill which would create a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The Senate cannot vote on that bill until it completes the process for the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. If the Senate does not get to the commission bill by the end of this week, it will not be taken up until early June, as the Senate is in recess next week.

However, even if the Senate does vote to invoke cloture the commission bill today, it is unlikely to garner enough Republican support to advance.


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