Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threatened unified GOP opposition to a proposed bill on strengthening American competition with China in the event that the Democrats also try to pursue a party-line economic plan later this summer.
According to CNN, the China bill, formally known as the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), has been carefully negotiated by both parties for months. Many industry leaders, especially from the automotive industry, have taken an interest in the possible final product, as the legislation may include funding for domestic development of semiconductor chips.
But on Thursday, McConnell posted a tweet declaring that “there will be no bipartisan USICA as long as Democrats are pursuing a partisan reconciliation bill.”
McConnell was referencing a Democratic proposal that would, among other things, cap the prices of prescription drugs and include new provisions on global warming and so-called “green” energy, all through the budget process known as “reconciliation.” Reconciliation measures are immune to the filibuster, and thus can be passed with a narrow majority, which the Democrats currently wield in the U.S. Senate due to the tiebreaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
The proposed economic package is the result of negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumr (D-N.Y.) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), one of the two moderate Democrats in the Senate. Manchin’s opposition to Joe Biden’s signature proposal, known as “Build Back Better,” ultimately led to its legislative demise. Democratic leadership is looking to solidify some sort of economic agreement, with Manchin’s support, ahead of the August recess.
Responding to McConnell’s tweet, Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman issued a statement, saying that “Senator McConnell is holding American jobs in key US industries hostage to help China and protect his friends in big pharma allowing them to keep screwing over Americans with outrageously high Rx drug prices.”