We’re here today to begin the process of reconciling competitiveness legislation from the House and Senate.
It’s been nearly a year since we passed the bills at the core of this legislation and it’s long past time that we began work conferencing it.
We are facing a generational threat from the Chinese Communist Party. Their goal is to make Chinese businesses and the Chinese economy stronger than ours, and to capitalize on advanced technologies to undermine our cybersecurity and military strength. We need to take this threat seriously and pass strong policy now.
I’ve been very clear about my priorities for this legislation. It needs to be strategic and focused on the areas that will have the most impact. That means targeted basic research into critical technologies, building out America’s STEM workforce, and protecting our investments from theft by China. In short, it means focusing on the thoughtful, bipartisan legislation produced by Republicans and Democrats on the House Science Committee.
Unfortunately, that legislation was sandwiched in with a massive list of unrelated provisions that the Speaker threw into the COMPETES Act at the last minute. That’s made our task here more difficult because we’re starting with a controversial, partisan product.
To have a successful conference we will need to focus only on the bipartisan policies that have been thoroughly discussed and vetted.
In terms of process, from years of experience on Farm Bills I know that the best way to make progress is by having true four-corners engagement between the minority and majority of the relevant House and Senate Committees.
Finding bipartisan consensus will take time, but it’s worth the effort. Artificial deadlines and interference by leadership only complicate discussions and jeopardizes this whole process. We can’t afford that.
The Chinese Communist Party is an active and growing threat to our economic and national security and this bill must focus on addressing that threat. It cannot be a yard sale of Democratic policies that have failed in other legislative vehicles.
I’m looking forward to working with the Chairs and Ranking Members of the other key Committees in this conference, and I’m committed to working in good faith towards a bill that strengthens American science and technology and protects us from threats from Communist leadership in China.
I yield the balance of my time.