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Rick Scott voted against American manufacturing ideas he touted in his own plan

The America COMPETES Act of 2022 contains many of the ‘Made in America’ ideas the Florida Republican senator pitched in February.

By Josh Israel - April 05, 2022
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Rick Scott
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Feb. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

On Feb. 10, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) gave a speech at the pro-Trump America First Policy Institute that included 10 ideas for how the United States could beat “our enemy,” China, in what he called “a New Cold War.”

On March 28, Scott was one of just 28 senators — all Republicans — who voted against H.R. 4521, the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, also known as the America COMPETES Act, which passed in the Senate. The bill, backed by Biden, would invest billions in American manufacturing and enhance the ability of domestic businesses to compete internationally.

The bill contains provisions that would do several of the exact things Scott proposed in February.

During his speech, he lauded Trump, who repeatedly praised and defended the Chinese regime during his single term in the White House, for having “opened the eyes of everyday Americans to the goals of that evil regime.” Scott also attacked President Joe Biden for not following his predecessor’s “proven playbook” to counter China.

He then described the 10 ideas for policies he would like to see adopted, including some of the exact policy ideas Scott scolded Biden for not adopting.

“If you look around, the majority of things Americans use on a daily basic are made in Communist China,” Scott said. “An easy first step every American can take is to start thinking about where things are made and choose products not made in Communist China.”

The COMPETES bill establishes an office to promote American-made goods, creates a supply chain database and toolkit, establishes a BuyAmerican.gov website, and invests billions of dollars in funding to help manufacture more items like microchips domestically.

“Second, we have to stop giving U.S. capital to Chinese-based companies through our stock exchanges, investments, and index funds,” Scott urged. “We should get them out of retirement accounts and our pension plans. They refuse to be transparent about their accounting practices and we shouldn’t be putting American investors and retirees at risk.”

Section 3407 of the COMPETES Act would provide an “annual review on the presence of Chinese companies in United States capital markets” to describe all “risks posed by the presence in the United States capital markets of companies incorporated in the PRC [People’s Republic of China].”

Scott also said the United States needs to “face off against Communist China in international institutions. We cannot let Beijing into positions of power at the United Nations, at the IMF, the World Bank… THE OLYMPICS.”

Section 3207 of the legislation would require a report on “Chinese influence in international organizations,” while other parts would require the administration to act to remove human rights abusers from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council.

“[W]e need to end our policy of strategic ambiguity with Taiwan,” Scott asserted. “I’ve introduced the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act to make clear that we will come to Taiwan’s defense if Beijing invades the island.”

In addition to numerous provisions aimed at protecting the partnership between the United States and Taiwan, section 3219G of the legislation would ensure “economic, diplomatic, and other measures to deter and impose costs on any” use of force by China “to change the status quo of Taiwan.”

“And finally,” Scott concluded, “we need to think about how they’re penetrating our technology. I’ve introduced legislation to ban TikTok on government devices and to prevent Chinese-made drones, like those from DJI, from being used by government agencies.”

The COMPETES Act would do both of these things, prohibiting the use of the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on government-owned devices and barring the federal government’s “procurement” and “operation” of unmanned aircraft systems from China.

Asked about his vote against all these provisions, a spokesperson for Scott referred the American Independent Foundation to a March 21 press release in which Scott called the bill a “$250 billion failure.”

In the statement, Scott complained that the bill was too expensive and included money to protect the climate:

Communist China is committing genocide against the Uyghurs, regularly steals U.S. technology and intellectual property (IP), lies and cheats to manipulate markets and has crushed democracy in Hong Kong. The vast majority of the provisions in the COMPETES Act do not do anything to fix these problems and spends BILLIONS we don’t have on Green New Deal policies, like the UN Green Climate Fund, and wild handouts to universities partnering with Communist China and tech companies making record profits.

The statement includes a list of things that Scott’s office says the America COMPETES Act “really does,” including “Provides a $52 BILLION handout” to domestic semiconductor chip manufacturers; “Gives BILLIONS to universities without prohibiting funding from going to institutions that host Confucius Institutes, Communist China’s program to steal U.S. technology and IP at our universities”; and “DOES NOTHING to hold Communist China accountable for the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Scott has been talking a lot in recent weeks about what his party would do if it were to win back the majority in the coming midterm elections in November.

Scott’s controversial 11-point Rescue America plan — lambasted by Democrats and even by Fox News for raising taxes on over 100 million Americans and allowing vital programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to expire every five years — also includes a call for an “America First” strategy to make the United States less dependent on China.

“America will be dependent on NO other country,” it states. “We will gradually end all imports from Communist China until a new regime honors basic human rights and freedoms. We will build supply chains that rely solely on American workers and allies. We will not be at the mercy of our enemies for medications or any essential commodities.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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