COMPETES Act Is the Build Back Better Backup Plan

Posted: Feb 04, 2022 12:33 PM
COMPETES Act Is the Build Back Better Backup Plan

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

In less than two weeks, the U.S. government runs out of money to fund necessary programs. Prices continue to rise for consumer products of all kinds, from gasoline to chicken. Millions of Americans have left the workforce and businesses are desperately searching for employees. Students and their families in Blue states across the country are still dealing with school district policy dictated by teachers’ unions that want schools closed. These are real problems facing the American people, but instead of addressing these pressing issues, House Democrats passed a nearly 3,000-page bill to spend over $300 billion on giveaways to China, unions, and “Green New Deal” radicals. Rather than tackle the issues that are forcing Arkansans to tighten their belts, President Biden and Congressional Democrats leave hardworking Americans to fend for themselves in favor of the “America COMPETES Act.”

Rather than a plan to combat China’s increasing influence or hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for its innumerable human rights violations, this bill is a multi-thousand page liberal wish list pouring $8 billion into an unaccountable United Nations climate slush fund that has already sent $100 million to the CCP, gives handouts to labor unions, increases costs for deploying rural broadband, and spends $22 billion on a program that encourages Americans to stay out of the workforce. Many believe that this bill is weak on China, but it’s worse; it’s simply not about China at all. Though marketed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi as legislation that seeks to counter China’s increasingly malign activities in the cyber and intellectual property arenas, this bill uses the words “climate” and “coral reef” more than “China.” This bill is the Build Back Better Back-Up Plan. When the big-spending BBB was killed by the Senate, Speaker Pelosi threw together this second-rate do-over bill as a consolation prize to a struggling president. The American people deserve better.

The few times the so-called COMPETES Act addresses China, the bill outlines policy to boost China’s economy by giving priority to the CCP as a supplier of the United States’ critical minerals by prohibiting our own mining. This bill lays the groundwork for a centralized government dictating where money should go. The way to combat China is not to become China, and it’s certainly not to hand China more money.

China is a very real threat to the United States that must be addressed. The U.S. has become overly reliant on China for everything from antibiotics, to critical minerals, to everyday consumer goods and this latest bill doubles down on that reliance. While this bill pours billions into “green” solar energy projects, the Biden administration attacks mining of critical minerals and rare Earth elements in the U.S. Now, we’re forced to import those raw materials from China and other questionable regimes around the world who use slave labor to mine critical minerals and build items like solar panels. Planning for a new, cleaner future shouldn’t line the pockets of the very nation that is making the environment worse, skirting international trade rules, and stealing U.S. intellectual property. China benefits from the Democrats’ $3 billion solar energy plan. 

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Thankfully, there is a better way forward. In September 2020, the Congressional China Task Force released a report with more than 400 forward-leaning recommendations on how the U.S. can successfully counter the CCP. Two-thirds of those recommendations had bipartisan support. The House has already passed measures this Congress to hold China accountable for its human rights abuses, and there is strong bipartisan support for a bill bolstering the U.S. semiconductor industry to specifically counter China’s market share. Instead of championing any of those bipartisan measures, Speaker Pelosi pushes a bill with radical provisions she knows Republicans can never support and that won’t ever make it to President Biden’s desk. 

House Republicans are ready to work across the aisle to address the CCP’s growing threat, but this bill is nothing more than Build Back Better leftovers. It is time President Biden reins in the leftist radicals in the party he supposedly leads, and focuses on the real needs of the American people.