Hagerty Files Amendments to Improve the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act to Counter the Chinese Communist Party

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) has filed a number of amendments to the legislation currently being debated on the Senate floor intended to address U.S. competitiveness with China.

Hagerty’s amendments are focused on improving the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act’s shortfalls in facing the reality of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) predatory actions to erode U.S. leadership across the globe.

“I am pleased that the Senate is spending time debating perhaps the most fundamental challenge of our time—countering Communist China’s aggression—but in its current form, this legislation falls severely short of what’s needed,” Senator Hagerty said. “Communist China is our strategic adversary, and my amendments aim to improve the bill.”

Hagerty has introduced the following amendments:

  • China is not a “Developing Nation”—this amendment would direct the U.S. Trade Representative to take steps to ensure that the CCP can no longer abuse the World Trade Organization’s “developing nation” status.
  • National Security Risks of Communist China’s Digital Currency—this amendment would require a report on the national security risks posed to the United States by China’s development of an official digital currency.
  • Chinese Fentanyl is a Weapon of Mass Destruction—this amendment would classify synthetic opioids, almost all of which originate in China, as a weapon of mass destruction for the purposes of U.S. diplomacy, U.S. agencies’ missions, and U.S. homeland security and defense preparedness purposes.
  • Chinese Fentanyl Origins and Transit—this amendment would require detailed reporting, which is currently unavailable, on the source and transit countries of synthetic opioids and precursors. The vast majority of synthetic opioids entering the United States’ land border originates in China and is transited through Central America.
  • Chinese Fentanyl Detection Technology Deployment—this amendment would require an audit of the status of deployment of fentanyl detection equipment, for which Congress has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years, at U.S. ports of entry.
  • Prohibition of U.S. Support for “Gain of Function” Virus Research in China— as momentum grows to investigate the “lab-leak hypothesis” at Wuhan Institute of Virology as a possible origin of the COVID-19 pandemic,  this amendment would prohibit U.S. taxpayer dollars from supporting China’s “Gain of Function” research, which can be used to make viruses more infectious and lethal.
  • Countering China with Critical Materials from Greenland—this amendment would modify existing Defense Production Act authorities to allow the United States to obtain rare earth elements that are critical to countering the CCP that are not found in the United States.
  • Commemorating the 10-year Anniversary of the Fukushima Disaster—this amendment, co-sponsored by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), would commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that caused the Fukushima disaster in Japan and would demonstrate U.S. solidarity with Japan. 
  • Ensure Congressional Review of the “Industries of the Future” Report—this amendment would ensure that the Congress has the ability to review the “Industries of the Future” report before the underlying bill’s enhanced research and development (R&D) authorities take effect. This report, required by law to be submitted to Congress by May 1, 2021 has not been submitted, was supposed to assess the ongoing U.S. R&D efforts to counter China and detail a comprehensive strategy on how to improve these efforts.
  • Comprehensive Review of all U.S. Government R&D Authorities—this amendment would require the Government Accountability Office to issue a report that provides a comprehensive catalog of all R&D legal authorities across the entire U.S. Government in an effort to reduce waste and duplication and ensure that taxpayer resources are used efficiently and effectively as the United States seeks to counter the CCP.
  • Comprehensive Review of all U.S. Government R&D Spending—this amendment would require the Office of Management and Budget to issue a report that provides a comprehensive accounting of all R&D expenditures across the entire U.S. Government over the last 5 fiscal years in an effort to reduce waste and duplication and ensure that taxpayer resources are used efficiently and effectively as the United States seeks to counter the CCP.