The “China Bill” being pushed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Congressional Democrats is riddled with woke, Leftist provisions that have virtually nothing to do with China. This week, the House will take up the bill, H.R. 4521, the “America COMPETES Act.” This legislation should be rejected by lawmakers.
The 2,900-page bill contains numerous alarming proposals including Green New Deal climate provisions, implementing the Left’s woke social agenda, increased regulatory burdens and spending, and carveouts for Big Labor.
Green New Deal Agenda
The Congressional Democrats’ bill is packed full of Leftist climate provisions.
To start, it attempts to bind the U.S. to global environmental priorities. The bill calls on the U.S. to “implement the Paris Agreement that significantly advances global climate ambition on mitigation, adaptation, and support.” The Paris Agreement calls on governments to “undertake rapid reductions,” and report to each other on their progress. The legislation also calls for the Secretary of State to develop a 10-year strategy, named the “Global Climate Change Resilience Strategy.” The bill also dishes out $8 billion for the United Nations Green Climate Fund.
These goals largely necessitate the U.S. government undermine its energy sector, making the U.S. economy weaker and more reliant on foreign energy, a particularly ironic inclusion in a bill meant to increase our country’s foreign competitiveness.
Democrats’ bill also creates new programs to study greenhouse gases through the creation of a “greenhouse gas measurement center of excellence” and taxpayer-funded grants to “climate friendly” marine fishery products. As the Republican Study Committee highlights, the bill mentions “Coral Reef” more times (383) than the word “China” (373).
Not only do the Green New Deal provisions in this bill do nothing to address competitiveness with China, but it could undermine the United States’ global standing through foreign reliance on energy.
The America COMPETES Act also includes several woke priorities that do nothing to address U.S. competitiveness.
The bill calls on the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and other federal science agencies to create new diversity officer positions, focus their efforts on “social and economic inequality” and implicit bias training, and implement CRT-based policy recommendations.
The bill also creates grant programs for the purpose of supporting research related to equity, diversity, race, gender, sexual orientation, student loan debt, and more. It mandates agencies to collect grant applicants’ demographic information and make determinations on who receives taxpayer money based, in part, on those identities.
Race and gender theory have no business being part of a national security/global economic competitiveness bill.
Increases Regulatory Burden and Spending
Democrats’ legislation would also harm U.S. businesses through new regulations and government spending.
This bill expands expensive welfare programs. It would expand and make permanent the Health Coverage Tax Credit, which expired January 1st of this year. The Health Care Tax Credit would be expanded from 72.5 percent of costs to 80 percent of costs.
The changes made to Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) are pulled straight from the Democrats’ Build Back Better plan. TAA was created to assist workers and firms harmed by trade, but this bill would massively expand assistance for “virtually any undesirable economic conditions affected by trade,” as the RSC points out. Under these changes, eligible workers can be making up to $70,000 at their new job and still be able to receive TAA payments and benefits which, under this bill, includes childcare expenses up to $2,000 per minor dependent per year. This increased spending could worsen surging inflation.
The bill also includes numerous new burdensome regulations on U.S. businesses, as the RSC outlines:
- Allowing the Treasury to prohibit exchanges and other financial institutions from engaging in transactions of digital assets and crypto currencies that it deems a concern.
- Giving the Biden Administration increased authority under the Defense Production Act to control the private production of goods and contracts.
- Impose crushing liability on small U.S. online companies related to counterfeit goods sold on their platforms.
- Increasing regulations on American business by requiring them to prove an import does not violate anti-dumping or counter-veiling duty laws.
- Creating new labor and environmental requirements for countries to participate in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, which allows duty-free imports of goods that are not produced in the U.S.
In a bill designed to increase U.S. competitiveness, Democrats’ have included provisions that burden our economy.
Big Labor Carveouts
Finally, the bill includes carveouts for top Democrat donors, Big Labor.
The bill’s $45 billion supply chain program would be used to empower labor unions by requiring applicants to promise that they will not oppose unionization efforts or rescind a collective bargaining agreement for 2 years after repaying a loan. As the bill states, “An employer shall remain neutral with respect to the exercise of employees and labor organizations of the right to organize and bargain under the National Labor Relations Act.”
Additionally, the creation of certain councils and committees, namely the National Manufacturing Advisory Council and National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships, would allow the Biden Administration to expand the power of unions in the U.S. manufacturing sector. The National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships, for example, explicitly requires one-third of committee representatives be from labor unions.
This bill also expands the national apprenticeship system in a way that further solidifies its union-favored structure.