On Tuesday, in a rare bipartisan vote, the United States Senate passed a spending package aimed at improving American innovation, technology, and research in order to increase the nation’s standing against the rival nation of China, according to CNN.
With 68 senators voting in favor of the bill and 32 voting against, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act will spend $200 billion to “supercharge American innovation and preserve our competitive edge for generations to come,” according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). However, the bill still needs to pass the House of Representatives before Joe Biden can sign it into law.
Despite Republican criticisms of the bill for not including more amendments from Republican members, the bill did garner the support of 19 Republicans in the Senate, who joined with 49 Democrats to pass the bill. The only Democrat in the Senate to vote against the bill was Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Sanders cited as chief among his concerns the fact that the bill’s allocation of $10 billion to NASA could end up benefiting Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ new space company, Blue Origin.
In addition to the space research funding, the bill also dedicates another $10 billion to the Department of Commerce, which will use the funds to create “regional tech hub programs,” with some of these centers being located in rural areas. The bill also requires that any steel, iron, or other manufacturing materials used in federal infrastructure projects must come from the United States, further solidifying the “Made in America” approach that was first introduced by President Donald Trump.
Despite the bipartisanship on this particular bill, there appears to be little hope for compromise between the two parties on other key legislation in Congress at this time. The latest round of negotiations over a possible infrastructure bill have collapsed, and Republicans also plan to filibuster the Democrats’ sweeping election bill H.R. 1, which would federalize all U.S. elections and permanently implement many of the same fraudulent election practices that led to widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.