Defense Spending Bill Hits Snag As Schumer Pushes For Innovation and Competitiveness Act

Wednesday, November 17th 2021, 10:40 pm


Forward progress on the bipartisan defense spending bill, already delayed by inaction in the U.S. Senate, appeared to take another hit Wednesday as a scheduled vote to proceed with debate on the measure was at least temporarily put off.

A decision by Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer to attach an unrelated bill — the U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness Act (USICA) — to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) raises concerns with many Republicans, including Sen. Jim Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“It’s in the hands of Schumer,” Sen. Inhofe said in an interview today, “He’s made it very clear he wants to have the China bill on there—he wants to do a motion to proceed.”

USICA is often referred to as ‘the China bill’ on Capitol Hill because it is seen as a way to make America more competitive with China in technology. It passed the Senate with 68-32 earlier this year (Inhofe and Sen. Lankford both voted against it), but has not been acted upon in the House.

Sen. Inhofe believes it’s not just Republicans who oppose what Schumer is attempting.

“We don’t do a motion to proceed until all agreements are made, [and] that the outside committees have agreed to the terms,” Inhofe said. “And all that just hasn’t happened. So he’s trying to push something that hasn’t been tried before, and I know that Democrats, most of the Democrats, I think, are on our side, but they are pretty disciplined in how they vote.”