“At the moment, there has been an absolute refusal to let me vote,” Crapo said Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve been trying for days.”
Crapo raised his objections at the GOP lunch on Wednesday, according to sources familiar with the exchange, and urged his colleagues to vote against interrupting debate on the bill, which requires 60 votes. He and Wyden are their party leaders on the influential Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade.
It is unclear whether Republicans have the voices to prevent the bill, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, S. 1260 (117), from moving forward Thursday. Senators and aides said they were optimistic about resolving the issues.
But the latest Republican resistance jeopardizes Schumer’s plans for a final vote on the bill, which allocates billions in new funds for scientific research and technology to counter China’s economic boom.
Democrats have dismissed the emerging GOP posture as a simple effort to extract more concessions from Schumer.
“It’s too big to fail. People put too much work in there, there is too much good bipartisan stuff here for it to fall into a few small procedural objections, ”said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Of the project. China law.
Schumer “gives [Republicans] every rope they need to hang themselves, ”said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
As negotiators still grapple with amendments, the main Republican leading the effort said he was “close” to securing 60 votes for the bill’s final passage, which is assembled after three months of committee work and a rare and robust amendment process on the Senate floor.
China’s competitiveness measure is dear to Schumer, who has shown from the start a willingness to do whatever is necessary to make it happen – even indulging Republicans on the proposed changes, allowing several GOP amendments largely unsuccessful. controversies to hit the Senate floor this week.
“He has kept his word,” said Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), Schumer’s counterpart on the legislation, said earlier Wednesday. “I feel incredibly encouraged by what has been a fairly straightforward and straightforward process.”
If the spirit of bipartisanship carries the Chinese proposal for adoption, it will not last long. Senators could finish the bill Thursday. Next, Schumer (DN.Y.) will attempt to take charge of a bill passed by the House establishing an independent cross-sectional commission to investigate the January 6 siege on Capitol Hill. Republicans vow to block the effort.
For now, senators from both parties marveled on Wednesday at the – albeit fleeting – return to the body’s institutional traditions after years of descent into a bitter partisanship that deepened with the Democratic 50-50 majority.
“I love to see the Senate work,” added Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio). “In fact, we are drafting a bill on the prosecution, proposing amendments and having a debate.”
“I don’t remember when this happened since I’ve been in the United States Senate,” Young added.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier Wednesday that Republicans are “making fairly good progress” in pushing for additional amendments, and Democrats have expressed openness to many of them. .
“This is one of the few good news in the United States Senate. We are actually legislating, ”said Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).
Despite the momentum of the Chinese bill, senators will need to resolve the trade amendment issue and a number of other political disputes to initiate a final vote on the bill before the Memorial Day recess.
In addition to rejecting three amendments in the afternoon, the Senate scheduled votes on five other Wednesday evening, including four Republicans. Schumer plans to bring forward several provisions on Thursday, as well as a director’s amendment that will include input from a number of senators.
On Wednesday, lawmakers were still scrambling to bring their favorite projects to fruition and resolve lingering rules disputes for the hundreds of billions of dollars the legislation would allocate to research and manufacturing incentives.
Senses Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) And Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) Have spoken out against a provision to give NASA $ 10 billion for a lunar landing program that critics say should be attributed to Blue Origin, the space of Jeff Bezos company.
Sanders introduced an amendment on Monday that would remove the provision, and Hawley said he could not support the final bill if the $ 10 billion remains.
“It makes you wonder what is also hidden in this bill, and if it becomes just a Christmas tree for corporate gifts and special interests,” Hawley said, adding that he would be “happy” to join Sanders’ push. .
But Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Whose state is home to Blue Origin, said she did not expect this amendment to derail consideration of the bill. She called the language essential to ensure “competition” for lunar contracts at NASA.
Democrats are also insisting on a provision in the bill’s $ 52 billion chipmaking fund that would require workers in projects funded by the bill to be paid at prevailing wage rates. Young people and other Republicans have warned the term could endanger GOP support, but Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) Called it “non-negotiable.”
Additionally, U.S. companies doing business in China are quietly pushing back an amendment proposed by Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) And John Cornyn (R-Texas) that would clamp down on technology transfers between the United States and China. This provision would establish a system similar to that of the Interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to review proposed investments by American companies in China, which could apply to sectors ranging from healthcare to semiconductors. , defense and others.
Industry groups like the US-China Business Council fear the Casey-Cornyn Amendment is too broad, but both hope the amendment could be included in the bipartisan leadership amendment or receive a direct top-down vote.
“The problem is, the industry usually doesn’t care about national security and someone has to be, so that’s our job,” said Cornyn. “The mere fact that the industry may find this inconvenient is therefore not determinative.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Casey said the amendment was “on hold,” and he was concerned industry fears had sparked opposition from some Republicans.
“I don’t know if it developed on its own or if it developed because business groups ran to some Republicans and said ‘don’t support this’,” Casey said. He added that he was counting on Cornyn and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), His GOP partners on the amendment, to get their members back in line by Thursday.
“I hope it will happen sooner than that,” he said, “but we still have tomorrow. And it is possible that we have to go beyond tomorrow.