Leaders of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee introduced major legislation on Thursday to boost the country’s ability to push back against China’s expanding global influence by promoting human rights, providing security aid and investing to combat disinformation.
The draft measure, titled the “Strategic Competition Act of 2021,” mandates diplomatic and strategic initiatives to counteract Beijing, reflecting hard-line sentiment on dealings with China from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
It was first reported by Reuters earlier on Thursday.
The 280-page bill addresses economic competition with China, but also humanitarian and democratic values, such as imposing sanctions over the treatment of the minority Muslim Uighurs and supporting democracy in Hong Kong.
It stressed the need to “prioritize the military investments necessary to achieve United States political objectives in the Indo-Pacific.” It called for spending to do so, saying Congress must ensure the federal budget is “properly aligned” with the strategic imperative to compete with China.
The bill recommends a total of $655 million in Foreign Military Financing funding for the region for fiscal 2022 though 2026, and a total of $450 million for the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative and related programs for the same period.