The Senate was moving slowly toward passage of an expansive bill to bolster U.S. economic competitiveness and confront China’s rise, debating some last amendments before a final vote.
The legislation cleared an initial procedural vote after a deal was struck between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republicans on some changes to the bill. But the debate dragged into Friday morning as several Republicans demanded consideration of additional amendments and objected to voting without fully reading the lengthy bill.
“We really have an obligation to know what on Earth we’re voting for,” said Senator Mike Lee, a Utah Republican.
Schumer had set a goal of passing the legislation before senators leave Washington for a scheduled week-long break.
The bill, which has bipartisan support in the Senate but faces significant hurdles in the House, would plow more than $100 billion into U.S. research and development and provide $52 billion to foster domestic semiconductor manufacturing. It also includes a wide array of measures directly targeting China — on human rights and its influence in the U.S. — underscoring the bipartisan angst over the rise of the strategic rival.
President Joe Biden has backed the bill, which is emerging a key test of whether significant bipartisan legislation can be passed in a bitterly divided 50-50 Senate.