CAPAC Chair Statement on America COMPETES Act

Feb 4, 2022 Issues: Economic Development

Washington, D.C. —  The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 4521, the America COMPETES Act, a comprehensive package of science, commerce, trade, foreign policy, manufacturing, and education policy to improve American competitiveness. This bill includes $2 billion to support industries reliant on semiconductors, like automobiles and electronics and another $45 billion to improve supply chain resilience and manufacturing technology. The America COMPETES Act will also make investments in the future, by creating a new Directorate for Science and Engineering Solutions to accelerate research and development that address pressing issues like climate change, cybersecurity, and global competitiveness. It modernizes our support for workers who have lost jobs due to trade while also improving our laws to ensure trade is more fair to the US, while continuing to protect the supply chain. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), issued the following statement:

“The bill we passed today is a crucial one for investing in America’s future. We need stronger manufacturing capabilities, more investments in STEM, fairer trade laws, and a stronger supply chain. All of that is included in the America COMPETES Act and I’m grateful to the Members of Congress who used this opportunity to focus on these policies and what this legislation will do for America. It is important that we are specific about what our challenges are and specific about what we plan to do to meet them, and I appreciate the many Members on the Democratic side who did just that, informing their constituents while making the case for policies that will help our country. And I am grateful that the House adopted my amendment on the importance of opposing the targeting of Chinese researchers and scientists based on their race, something we’ve seen ruin numerous careers and lives already.

“Unfortunately, there are still many who have made a choice to rely only on xenophobia and hate. Instead of debating the merits of this massive bill and its billions of dollars of investments, Republicans chose instead to use rhetoric that we know puts Asian American lives at risk. Last week, in advance of this debate, I reminded my colleagues about the murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American killed by two out of work autoworkers who blamed Japan for losing their jobs. We know that telling people to blame an entire country or people for their troubles is dangerous. That is precisely why we spoke out against slurs like ‘China virus.’ But Republicans insisted on using this language, even though it was contributing to an historic spike in anti-Asian hate crimes. And, sadly, we are seeing the same behavior again today, with innocent Asian Americans paying the price. However, I remain encouraged by the positive debate among those who engaged with the substance of the bill. I’m optimistic that this legislation will leave America stronger and hopeful that it will set a tone for future debates to be focused on policy, not fear.”