Legislation for innovation is being used as a convenient Trojan horse for militarization!
The Senate and the House of Representatives recently passed parallel anti-China bills: the Make It in America Bill (previously the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, or USICA) and the America COMPETES Act, respectively. Although touted as a necessary investment to increase manufacturing, innovation, and economic strength, upon closer inspection, both bills promise to squander even more of our tax dollars for the U.S.'s next forever war, and contribute to climate devastation through increased U.S. military emissions. House leaders are urging for quick action in the reconciliation process with the goal of getting it to Biden ASAP so he can use it as a big win during his State of the Union address on March 1st.
As companion bills, they need to be reconciled by a Conference Committee, before being voted through by both the House and the Senate. If a reconciled bill passes through both houses, it lands on President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The bills have not been reconciled yet, which gives us an opportunity to stop the bill from landing with dangerously militarized provisions. We still have time to demand that economic and social investments are not used as a disguise for military funding!
Despite being heralded as an investment in manufacturing and innovation, both bills allocate millions of dollars per year for media outlets to produce journalism that is critical of China.1 This is happening against a backdrop of a 339% increase in reported anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S. from 2020 to 2021 alone.2 Sinophobic and anti-Asian sentiment will only be further inflamed, and legitimized - policies portraying China as a threat result in the consequence of anti-Asian racism, regardless of anti-racism language and provisions against anti-Asian discrimination in the bills. U.S. foreign policy on China becomes a grim domestic reality for people of Chinese descent in America (and anyone who is perceived as Chinese).
Instead of addressing the structural issues that have led to the numerous domestic crises plaguing ordinary Americans at home, such as inflation, unaffordable medical care, and employment precarity, these bills redirect attention and federal funds away from domestic policy failures, to “national security” issues across the Pacific. While Democrats’ frame America COMPETES as a way to “combat” China, Republicans still think this bill isn’t tough enough. Yet under COMPETES, the Department of Defense would get an additional $2 billion to “ensure the development and production” of “secure microelectronics.” In 2020, at a time when global GDP was shrinking and the COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc on the economy and people’s livelihoods, the United States spent $778 billion USD on its military–that’s more than the next 11 countries.3
As the world’s largest climate polluter in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more greenhouse gasses than most countries, we should not continue funneling billions into the U.S. military’s already enormous budget, especially when there is an endless laundry list of domestic issues that have not been addressed.
To stay ahead of the media lies and to learn more about China, join our webinar The Great Power Competition in Latin America? China's Belt and Road Initiative with Carlos Martinez, co-founder of No Cold War, and Manolo De Los Santos from The Peoples Forum; hosted by CODEPINK's Lauren Gonitzke.
Onward toward peace
Allison, Jodie, Lauren, the CODEPINK China Is Not Our Enemy campaign, and CODEPINK
P.P.S. Read the full text of Make It in America aka USICA in its current form here and America COMPETES here. International supporters can read more and share to spread the word about the dangers of the USICA!