Shaheen Secures NH And National Security Provisions In Landmark Bill To Invest In U.S. Competitiveness And Counter Chinese Aggression
June 08, 2021
** The bill clears the Senate beyond party lines and includes provisions led by Shaheen on STEM education and improved diplomatic tools to combat China’s influence **
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) made the following statement after the Senate passed the Watershed Bill, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act 2021, to counter an increasingly competitive and aggressive China. The comprehensive bipartisan bill invests in innovative education, well-paying jobs, and cutting-edge industries to increase U.S. competitiveness and protect our national security from China. The bill passed 68-32 in the Senate and will now go to the United States House of Representatives for consideration. The final bill included Shaheen’s provision to expand hands-on learning opportunities in STEM education in order to strengthen the pool of students entering the STEM labor market and enhance innovation in STEM. economy.
“As our economy recovers from the pandemic and we face increasing aggression and manipulation from China, now is the time to invest in our workforce and our competitiveness. This is why the bipartisan passage today of the US Senate Innovation and Competition Act 2021 is so monumental, ” said Shaheen. “This comprehensive bill addresses many of the most pressing issues facing our country by investing in American innovation and manufacturing. From creating well-paying jobs to investing in cutting-edge industries that strengthen our national security, this bill is among the most significant investments in our workforce in a generation. I’m proud that my provisions were included in the final package – including improving diplomatic tools to counter China and investing in STEM education to train the next generation of leaders. I look forward to working with partners in the House and the Biden administration to ensure that this essential legislation to strengthen our economy and our security is passed and proclaimed into law. ”
THE NEW PRIORITIES OF HAMPSHIRE GUARANTEED BY SHAHEEN IN INNOVATION AND COMPETITION ACT OF 2021 INCLUDE:
Investing in education and the STEM workforce through hands-on learning opportunities
Shaheen has led efforts to expand hands-on learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education through this package. His bipartisan bill with Senator Capito (R-WV), the STEM Learning Opportunities Act, would invest in experiential learning opportunities to strengthen the pool of students entering the STEM workforce, especially among traditionally under-represented groups such as women and communities of color. The legislation aims to address shortages in STEM expertise and boost innovation in the U.S. economy.
Investing in trade policies to support developing countries
Shaheen succeeded in including a bipartite provision based on stand-alone legislation with Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and John Boozman (R-AR), the American Jobs through Greater Exports to Africa Act. Shaheen pronounced remarks on the need to invest in US trade policies to support developing countries and counter China’s influence when its bill is considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Shaheen’s provision aims to create American jobs by increasing the number of American exports to Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean by at least 200% in real dollar value within ten years of the enactment of the law. It would help US companies compete with Chinese economic interests on the mainland.
Increase US defense attachés to improve diplomacy
Shaheen was successful in securing a provision that would increase the number of defense attachés in the Indo-Pacific region to bolster US diplomatic capabilities. Shaheen’s efforts would specifically expand the presence of U.S. diplomatic attachés in areas where China has resident military attachés but the United States does not, bolstering the U.S. presence and countering Chinese influence.
Push the confirmation of ambassadors in key strategic regions
Senator Shaheen successfully added a measure that would underscore the importance for the administration to appoint qualified ambassadors as quickly as possible – especially to countries in Central and South America – to ensure that the United States are in a diplomatic position to blunt Chinese influence efforts in these areas.