Let’s Get Serious About Competing With China
‘Our Democratic friends like to invoke America’s competition with China whenever they’re seeking to justify huge outlays of domestic spending. But they push the nuts and bolts of actually defending America to the back burner… If our colleagues were truly serious about competing with China, first of all, they would prioritize the NDAA, not let it languish. And second, Democrats would join Republicans in pushing for the strong commonsense policies that will actually help us build and make things.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding competition with China:
“The National Defense Authorization Act is must-pass legislation. But Senate Democrats have developed a bad habit of letting our national security languish.
“Last year, the 2023 NDAA spent five months in limbo. Even at the eleventh hour, the Democratic Leader refused to bring the Senate’s own bill to the floor. It took an informal conference between our colleagues on the Armed Services Committee and their House counterparts just to get this must-pass bill over the finish line.
“Our Democratic friends like to invoke America’s competition with China whenever they’re seeking to justify huge outlays of domestic spending. But they push the nuts and bolts of actually defending America to the back burner.
“Case in point: Chairman Reed just announced the Armed Services Committee will wait an entire extra month before even beginning consideration of this year’s NDAA.
“China isn’t waiting around and twiddling its thumbs. But apparently Leader Schumer’s Senate will be.
“And what would the Democratic majority have us do instead? Our colleagues are making a push for a grab bag of left-of-center domestic priorities they want to label as another ‘China bill.’
“Let’s remember the last so-called China bill that we just passed last year.
“The Commerce Secretary and other Biden Administration officials told us with great alarm that reshoring microchip production was a hugely urgent national security priority.
“Now, that’s a genuine bipartisan concern, and many of us Republicans agreed.
“But since then, the Administration’s stated urgency has all but disappeared.
“President Biden’s approach to implementing the law has been atrocious. They’re violating congressional intent and trying to attach extra strings to the microchip money to end-run liberal social policy through the private sector.
“The Biden Commerce Department has tried to say that semiconductor companies can’t get grants unless they tilt their hiring to benefit Big Labor… unless they provide all kinds of free employment benefits to the satisfaction of Washington bureaucrats… and on and on.
“It reminds me of a couple months ago, when Transportation Secretary Buttigieg asserted that one important problem with building American infrastructure is the racial and demographic composition of the construction crews. For goodness sakes!
“Mr. President, Washington Democrats have spent trillions of dollars – trillions – on a never-ending wish list of left-wing domestic priorities, heaping historic inflation on the American economy. But not a penny of their partisan bills built up our hard power.
“If our colleagues were truly serious about competing with China, first of all, they would prioritize the NDAA, not let it languish.
“And second, Democrats would join Republicans in pushing for the strong commonsense policies that will actually help us build and make things.
“Let’s prioritize real, robust permitting reform — the Capito-Barrasso bills.
“Let’s green-light domestic mining for our own critical minerals and reduce our dependence on Chinese supply chains.
“Let’s unleash America’s abundant domestic energy reserves.
“Let’s combat China’s rampant espionage and theft of high-tech research and intellectual property.
“If our Democratic colleagues really want us to out-compete China, let’s put first things first.
“And stop using this issue as a Trojan horse for unrelated liberal demands.”