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U.S. House committee due to consider sweeping China bill next week

·2 min read
Chinese and U.S. flags flutter outside the building of an American company in Beijing

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee has scheduled a meeting on Wednesday to consider sweeping legislation to boost economic competitiveness and push Beijing on human rights, part of an ongoing effort in Congress to address competition with China.

Committee aides said on Thursday the panel would mark up - or debate and consider amendments to - the "Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement Act," or Eagle Act, at a meeting at 1 p.m. EDT on June 30.

The desire for a hard line in dealings with China is one of the few truly bipartisan sentiments in the deeply divided U.S. Congress, which is narrowly controlled by President Joe Biden's fellow Democrats.

Representative Gregory Meeks, chairman of the Foreign Affairs panel, introduced the Eagle Act last month.

The Senate on June 8 passed by a strong bipartisan 68-32 majority its own sweeping China bill, the "U.S. Innovation and Competition Act," or USICA, which authorizes about $190 billion for provisions to strengthen U.S. technology and research, and approved $54 billion to increase U.S. production and research into semiconductors and telecommunications equipment.

House leaders opted not to take up and consider the Senate's legislation. House committees have instead been working on their own legislation, a process that could mean a months-long wait for any bill to be sent to the White House for Biden to sign into law.

On Thursday morning, Biden National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with House members - including Meeks and Representative Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the foreign affairs panel - at the White House to discuss the "vital importance" of initiatives to compete with China such as those in USICA.

"Sullivan ... stressed the importance of linking our foreign policy objectives with making vital investments to grow our economy," the White House said in a statement.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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