Threat of Filibuster Delayed Passage of the Legislation for 22 Days Despite 68-32 Bipartisan Vote on Final Passage
Legislation includes $3 billion annually for U.S. engagement in Indo Pacific, as well as provisions to strengthen U.S. bioeconomy, support researchers impacted by pandemic
Washington (June 8, 2021) -- Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Foreign Relations and Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committees, today applauded Senate passage of several of his provisions in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. As Chairman of the East Asia Subcommittee, Senator Markey secured provisions to reaffirm U.S leadership in the Indo-Pacific in the areas of human rights, building alliances, combatting climate change and building resilience, countering the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and strengthening democratic governance. The legislation also includes Senator Markey’s efforts to strengthen the U.S. bioeconomy and support researchers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Despite the threat of a filibuster that delayed this bipartisan bill, today we took another step closer to reestablishing our leadership on the global stage. This legislation will give the United States an edge in scientific development, reestablish a standard for human rights, and make our country safer. I am proud that the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act includes several of my provisions to put the United States back at the front of the line in research, development, and investment. But this legislation is not perfect, and I hope that as the bill continues through the legislative process, the trade provisions are improved to enforce stronger environmental and labor standards, including the addition of climate standards and removal of terms that could undermine worker or consumer protections,” said Senator Markey.
Senator Markey successfully led efforts to include provisions in several key areas of importance to United States’ interests, values, and security, such as:
  • Increasing the annual investment through ARIA by $500 million to a total of $3 billion per year and extending authorization of such appropriations an additional three years—through 2026—for activities in the Indo-Pacific including strengthening democratic governance, anti-corruption efforts, natural resource management, tackling environmental and security challenges, maritime cooperation, bilateral and multilateral diplomatic engagement in the region, and countering threats posed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
  • Increasing oversight of United States government efforts to combat the illicit fentanyl and opioid trade originating from the PRC by instituting reporting and briefing requirements.
  • Advancing the Taiwan Fellowship Act, co-led by Senator Rubio, which establishes a fellowship exchange program for U.S. federal government employees to learn, live, and work in Taiwan for a time period of up to two years.
  • Calling on the Secretary of State, in cooperation with the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to facilitate a robust interagency Indo-Pacific climate resiliency and adaptation strategy.
  • Standing up a Quad Intra-Parliamentary Working Group in cooperation with Senator Young to link legislators from the United States, Japan, Australia, and India, collectively known as the “Quad,” to facilitate progress in combating climate change, delivering vaccines to those in need, and facilitating other areas of cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Increasing funding for Radio Free Asia by over 50 percent to $70 million a year through 2026 to expand its services to reach audiences within China that do not have access to free and independent media. Radio Free Asia broadcasts in nine languages – including in Mandarin, Tibetan, Cantonese, and Uyghur – delivering highly syndicated reporting that breaks the Chinese Government’s information firewall.
  • Mandating a report on China’s supply of ballistic missiles or sensitive technology to Saudi Arabia or any other country. Based on Senator Markey’s SAUDI WMD ACT, this provision requires transparency into Saudi Arabia’s activities in light of press reporting that it received cooperation from China in the construction of a ballistic missile facility and an unsafeguarded nuclear facility. 
    • Strengthening America’s bioeconomy by establishing an initiative and interagency committee to advance and coordinate independent engineering biology efforts across federal agencies. The Bioeconomy Research and Development Act was originally introduced last year and passed out of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Senator Markey reintroduced the bill in April, alongside Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).
    • Authorizing federal science agencies to provide support to U.S. researchers who have been impacted by the pandemic as most research has been delayed due to closures of campuses and laboratories. The RISE Act was marked up and approved by the Senate Commerce Committee in September 2020. In February 2021, the bipartisan co-leads, Senators Markey, Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) reintroduced the legislation.
    • Making clean technology manufacture, development, and deployment a priority for determining grants to eligible consortia.  The Consortia-Led Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Networks Act of 2021 was reintroduced by Senator Markey and Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) in April 2021