“[It’s] something that is not only broadly popular among the American people but earns the support, if done right, of a strong bipartisan majority here in the Senate,” said Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. agreed, calling China an issue both Republicans and Democrats support.
“When we can work with our Republican friends, we will,” Schumer told reporters last week.
Young and Schumer originally introduced the Endless Frontier Act last May, which is the basis for this year’s bipartisan China legislation.
They warn America is falling behind China as the communist nation continues to steal American intellectual property and invest billions of dollars in the science and technology fields.
The bipartisan bill would help level the playing field by increasing U.S. investment in manufacturing, science and technology, supply chains and semiconductors.
Last year’s bill called for $100 billion over five years for an expansion of the National Science Foundation for research and development with a focus on artificial intelligence, quantum computing, automation, advanced manufacturing and more. An additional $10 billion would create regional technology hubs across the country.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. remarked last week the Biden administration could find “strong partners” with Republicans on China but also warned Democrats not to move any potential legislation too far to the left.
The significance of Young’s bipartisan work on China is not lost on him as he’s worked with Schumer and the White House on this year’s version of the bill.
“I think it’s really important in the wake of the last couple of months and how our legislative process has not been particularly bipartisan,” Young told Fox News. “That we come together on an initiative that I would hope 80 or 90 United States Senators could agree upon.”
Young, who was one of 10 Republican senators who received an oval office meeting with President Biden during COVID relief negotiations, described his current talks with White House staff as off to a good start.
“It’s early,” he said. “But it’s been, so far, a constructive and a positive experience.”
Young wants the White House invested in earning 70, 80, even up to 90 votes.
“If they’re merely invested in a 60-vote work product, that’s going to be disappointing to me,” described Young. “I may be personally happy with our work product, but I think the goal should be to find something that’s broadly appealing for Republicans and Democrats alike.”
Young added he hoped his China bill could be the start of more bipartisan legislating.
“It’s hard to undo a $1.9 trillion package that involves zero consultation with Republicans…but I do think this would help right the course,” he said, referring to the recently passed COVID relief package. “It’s going to take a pattern of nonpartisan or bipartisan behavior to reset things, but this would be a very strong start.”
Young anticipated the bill hitting the Senate floor in late April.
Fox News’ Kelly Phares contributed to this report.