Republicans threatened to prevent the Senate from taking up an anti-China competitiveness measure added to the annual defense policy bill by Senate Majority Leader Chuck, D-N.Y., The Hill reported on Wednesday.
The Senate had been expected to vote to advance the bill to the floor, permitting them to begin debate as soon as Thursday as the chamber nears the Thanksgiving recess.
Schumer instead delayed the vote amid the GOP threats.
“We’re not ready for a motion to proceed,” said Sen. James Inhofe, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, The Hill reported. “I think [Schumer] should be encouraged by the Democrats to not put the China bill in.”
The Oklahoma Republican specified that the inclusion of the competitiveness legislation was the holdup, with fellow GOP Sen. John Thune of South Dakota adding that Democrats are “adding things … to the so-called four corners agreement on the defense bill and that they’re trying to put this in without consulting or working with Inhofe or others.”
House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., had warned Defense News on Tuesday that adding the China legislation into the annual defense policy bill could slow down the legislation, saying it “a very large and very complicated piece of legislation with a lot of committee chairmen who are interested one way or the other.”
The Washington Democrat, who together with Republicans earlier this month criticized Schumer over a two-month delay in advancing the annual defense bill, said “I believe in the ability of people to reason together, but it takes time. We’re having those conversations and we’re engaging, but waiting until mid-November to launch this effort ramps up the degree of difficulty significantly.”
However, Schumer defended his attempt to have the anti-China competitiveness measure included in the defense bill, saying it is urgent that it is passed to help address supply chain problems and boost US manufacturing of much-need semiconductor chips, adding that the measure has already been delayed for too long.