Corporations And The Corrupt Conservatives They Routinely, Legalistically Bribe
Late this morning the House passed HR 4521, ostensibly Eddie Bernice Johnson's Bioeconomy Research and Development Act, but actually a House version of the Senate's bill-- passed 7 months ago with 18 Republicans on board-- on competitiveness, basically with China. Every Democrat except Florida Blue Dog Stephanie Murphy voted for it and every Republican except Adam Kinzinger voted against it-- passing the bill 222-210.
Negotiators from the House and Senate now have to sit down in conference and come up with a bill that both chambers will agree on, including at least 10 Republicans, who will be under intense pressure from Trump to oppose any compromise regardless of content. The idea of the House bill was to bolster scientific research and domestic supply chains-- think semiconductor chips in particular. The bill includes $52 billion to incentivize domestic chip production and $45 billion in grants and loans to encourage manufacturing facilities to strengthen domestic supply chains, which will be overseen by Biden's most corrupt conservative cabinet member, Gina Raimondo. There is also a shopping list of anti-China issues-- around U.S. disagreements with China over Hong Kong, Uyghurs in Xinjiang and an utterly inane provision about moving the Winter Olympics... which starts in a few days-- in the bill that has no place in this kind of economic legislation.
The bill wasn't bellicose enough for the GOP and McCarthy got the whole caucus (except Kinzinger) to vote against it, in part because the authors of the bill had the temerity to mention Climate-related issues, something the GOP still denies is real. The way McCarthy explained that was to whine that "While it contains some provisions supported by Republicans, Speaker Pelosi is holding these good ideas hostage by using this 3,000 page bill as a vehicle for the party's far-left agenda."
Reporting for Politico this morning, Sarah Ferris noted that "even its supporters acknowledge that much of the House bill-- stuffed with Democratic trade priorities to increase supply chain oversight, expand tariffs and tighten U.S. trade laws-- is unlikely to become law."
The House bill represents the culmination of months of wrangling in the lower chamber, where committee chairs were eager to put their stamp on the legislation, as the Senate drafted its own without their input. It also has been a top priority for many swing-district Democrats ahead of the midterms, who have been pleading with party leaders for months to take on economic issues-- though many centrists have complained about the overall bill-drafting.
“Today’s bill was a missed opportunity to quickly get a bill to the president's desk,” [far right corporate whore] Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL) said in a brief interview after she cast her caucus’s lone “no” vote on the bill, protesting its trade provisions.
“This bill is going to arrive in the Senate DOA, and because it is so chock full of progressive, protectionist policies that will never make it through the Senate,” Murphy said.
Democratic leaders and the White House are hopeful they can encourage talks between the two chambers and eventually come to a compromise deal. But that’s unlikely to happen before Biden’s State of the Union address next month, even as some in the party-- including Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo-- are making the push.
...House leaders insist that key parts of their bill must survive the cross-chamber negotiations to avoid a revolt among Democrats in the lower chamber that could endanger the bill’s final passage.
“Without meaningful changes, the Senate’s trade language does not have the votes to pass the House,” said a senior Democratic House aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss pending legislation.
Even so, some House Democrats who support the aggressive trade provisions against China acknowledge that they are unlikely to be included in the final bill and were added to maximize what little negotiation leverage the lower chamber has, said a congressional staffer with knowledge of their strategy.
One provision sure to be in the final package is the CHIPS for America Act-- the centerpiece of each chamber’s legislation. That bill would spend $52 billion on incentives for domestic computer chip production prioritized by the White House and congressional leaders to help combat the global chip shortage that has idled automotive factories and helped drive inflation. Other provisions that boost funding for technology research and development also enjoy broad bipartisan support.
But a host of other Democratic provisions likely will be nonstarters with Senate lawmakers. On trade, the House version contains language that would impose tariffs on small-value shipments from China and other non-market economies that have already drawn opposition from Republicans, corporate interests, and some moderate [meaning corrupt conservative] Democrats. The bill would impose tariffs on hundreds of millions of packages each year.
...The House bill would also renew government aid to workers whose jobs are outsourced, strengthen the Department of Commerce’s tariff authorities, and tighten labor and environmental rules for U.S. trading partners seeking relief from tariffs. And it would set up a new committee to screen American companies’ investments overseas-- a dramatic expansion in government power that was axed from the Senate version amid intense pressure from the Chamber of Commerce and other corporate interests last summer.
None of those programs were included in the Senate’s version of the bill, which opted instead to direct the Biden administration to expand its exemption process for companies hit by tariffs on China. The Chamber of Commerce targeted those provisions and other trade language in a statement opposing the bill on Wednesday.
While the bill contains some “worthy provisions,” such as the semiconductor funding, the bill also contains “numerous policies that would undermine U.S. competitiveness,” the business group wrote, pledging to “continue working in conference to improve it.”