Today, the Senate passed the bipartisan United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (formerly the Endless Frontiers Act), a bill aimed at boosting America’s competitive edge against the Chinese Communist Party. The final legislation included two major Sasse amendments.

“I’m glad we won big victories by doubling DARPA’s budget and developing new sanction authorities to go after China for stealing American intellectual property. As a China hawk and a fiscal hawk, I would have liked for this bill to take a more focused and aggressive approach to the China threat – but this is a strong start. The Chinese Communist Party is working overtime on cyber, AI, and machine learning so that they can become the world’s preeminent super power. We can’t let our foot off the gas.” 

Background:

The following Sasse amendments were included in the final bill:
  • Double DARPA: Senator Sasse’s amendment to authorize an additional $3.5 billion per year in funding for DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) was included in the final bill. DARPA is the Department of Defense's innovation and research arm responsible for cutting-edge national security achievements. 
  • Protecting American Intellectual Property Act: Senator Sasse’s amendment along with Senator Van Hollen (D-MD) combats China’s IP theft by giving the U.S. government economic tools to combat the threat to American ingenuity. This bill requires mandatory sanctions, consistent with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, be imposed on foreign individuals and firms that steal or benefit from stolen U.S. trade secrets. 
  • The National Risk Management Act: The amendment proposed by Senators Ben Sasse and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) helps ensure that the Department of Homeland Security identifies and addresses risks to critical infrastructure. This amendment implements a Cyberspace Solarium Commission recommendation to enhance the resiliency of our most critical industries.

  

Senator Sasse also proposed the following amendments which were not incorporated:
  • Senator Sasse and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) proposed an amendment that would create a Technology Competitiveness Council within the White House to drive a comprehensive National Technology Strategy to secure long-term U.S. leadership across all scientific, economic, and security aspects of emerging technologies. In order to accelerate the private sector Senator Sasse introduced an amendment with Senator Bennet to study ways to give AI startups access to classified spaces. 
  • Senator Sasse and Senator Chris Coons (D-CT) proposed an amendment that would establish a global COVID–19 relief program and an American vaccine diplomacy task force to facilitate the global distribution of COVID–19 vaccines developed in the United States. 
  • After the nomination of Chris Fonzone, who did legal work for the Chinese Communist Party’s tech company Huawei, to be General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Senator Sasse proposed an amendment to ban former employees or associates of Huawei from holding Senate-confirmed positions related to national security. 
  • Senator Sasse introduced an amendment that would require the Secretary of Commerce to complete rulemaking regarding export controls on emerging and foundational technologies before the Secretary accessed technology funds provided by the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021. 

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