The Boys Are Back in Town

Good morning. Both chambers of Congress are back after a two-week recess. It’s set to be a busy week on Capitol Hill, as Democrats jockey over the details of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure/sweeping social investments bill. We’ll save more thorough coverage of that effort for another time, when things are more clear and the story is a little more interesting than “Will Democrats try to pass it in one bill or two?”

Senate Moves Ahead With China Measure

The top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced an agreement last week for a sweeping package to compete with the Chinese government as Beijing seeks to heighten its influence around the world.

The draft version of the bill prioritizes international partnerships and military investments to counter the Chinese government. It would also task the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) with monitoring foreign influence in higher education and identifying if foreign governments are backing malign espionage activities against such institutions. CFIUS currently tracks financial transactions to ensure they do not threaten national security. The legislation mandates a series of government reports related to China, including one looking into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill also authorizes $15 million per year for the next six fiscal years for the State Department to establish a program to help companies move their supply chains out of China. The measure emphasizes the United States’ relationship with Taiwan and calls for there to be no restrictions on interactions between American and Taiwanese officials.

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