Biden Turns To Former Trump Officials On China Competition Bill

( )- The Biden administration seems to finally be coming around and realizing that they need help. And where they’re turning for that help is some of the former top officials under the Trump administration.

On Monday, the current White House enlisted some former officials under President Donald Trump to try to convince members of Congress that they should pass a bill that would strengthen the semiconductor industry in America.

The bill in question has stalled at this point because of differences between how the Senate and House view the bill. The legislation would allocate billions of dollars to strengthen the supply lines in the U.S., but the two chambers of commerce can’t agree on how much to spend and where to spend it.

Officials in the Biden administration believe some form of the bill needs to be passed to make manufacturing in the country more in competitive with that of China. They are hoping that by enlisting the help of officials in the former Trump administration, it will show members of Congress that this isn’t a political battle.

Gina Raimondo, the Secretary of Commerce, held a virtual conversation about manufacturing in the semiconductor industry on Monday. At that session, she hosted former Trump officials Matthew Pottinger, who worked for the National Security Council, as well as H.R. McMaster, who was the former national security adviser.

Also attending the meeting were Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO, as well as some members of Congress.

Commenting on the situation, Raimondo said:

“This is clearly a national security issue, so we’ll be bringing together experts from both sides of the aisle, including Trump supporters. Every day that we wait is a day that we fall behind.

“Best-case scenario is we get this done in the next couple of months. The worst-case scenario is nothing happens.”

Both the Senate and House versions of the bill would include roughly $52 billion that would be allocated to incentivize companies to build manufacturing facilities for semiconductor chips in the United States.

The total bill in the Senate was $250 billion, an received the support of 18 Republicans. It also included funds for other industries that serve on the front lines of the rivalry between the U.S. and China, and would overhaul the National Science Foundation.

The House version, meanwhile, totaled $335 billion. Support would be given to workers who lost their jobs due to outsourcing, and it would also include money for trade and environmental provisions. Only one Republican in the House supported that bill.

On a nearly weekly basis, President Joe Biden has taken his Cabinet members to meet with Congress to press them to pass a competitiveness bill with China. He also wants Congress to focus on some of his proposals that would address the snarls in the supply chain that have, in part, led to huge inflation numbers.

In explaining why this is such a pressing concern for the U.S., Raimondo compared it to the sanctions Western countries have put on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. She said:

“In three weeks, we have massively disrupted Russian military operations and economy by cutting off their access to crucial technology. I shudder to think what other countries can do to the United States of America, with so many of our semiconductors produced outside of the country.”