WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to help rebuild and strengthen U.S. research, development, and manufacturing capabilities and hold China accountable for its actions, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) joined with U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and several colleagues in introducing the America Labor, Economic competitiveness, Alliances, Democracy and Security (America LEADS) Act.  This bill would help take smarter trade enforcement and diplomatic actions against Beijing and strengthen the U.S. economy.  The America LEADS Act (S. 4629) would mark a major departure from the Trump Administration’s disastrous China policy by unwinding America’s reliance on Chinese manufacturing, strengthening U.S. alliances with key partners, and helping American workers, companies, and researchers compete and succeed  in the global marketplace.

The proposal includes over $350 billion over four years in new funding to synchronize and mobilize all aspects of U.S. national power.  This includes a $16 billion investment in the U.S. semiconductor industry to ensure American chipmakers can stay ahead of China and handle increased competition.  It also requires the President to submit a plan to Congress to use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to boost U.S. self-sufficiency for domestic production of semiconductor devices and reduce reliance on China as a source for those products.

The America LEADS Act is grounded in getting the broader Indo-Pacific strategy “right,” centered on our alliances and partnerships, animated by America’s longstanding values, and driven by the need for a course correction, after almost four years of President Trump’s aimless destruction that has weakened the U.S. on the world stage and with respect to China specifically.

Sponsored by Menendez, Reed, and nine other leading Senate Democrats, the America LEADS Act is guided by four pillars: 

  • Invest in American competitiveness;
  • Support American alliances and partners;
  • Restore and advance a values-centered foreign policy; and
  • Ensure China pays a price for its predatory economic actions.

“China challenges us across every dimension of power—political, diplomatic, military, economic, even cultural—offering an alternative and deeply disturbing model for global governance.  Rather than tackling these challenges, President Trump’s policies have rolled out the red carpet for Beijing to reshape international institutions and establish global rules and norms that spread the influence of their authoritarian system,” said Senator Menendez, the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Given the shortcomings of Trump’s ‘all bluster and tactics, no strategy’ approach to China, I am proud to be joined by my colleagues in introducing this important legislation to provide an alternative path forward.  The America LEADS Act will serve as a launching pad to help our nation emerge from this dark chapter of our history, truly confront the challenges China poses to our national and economic security, and once again lead from a place of strength and reverence for our highest values.”

“America needs a better strategy when it comes to China.  President Trump’s chaotic efforts have made that task even more challenging, but with this bill we’re starting the process of highlighting an effective strategy based on smart investments in U.S. workers and companies, building our competitive advantages over China, and increasing alliances to address China rather than undermining alliances as Trump has,” said Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee.


Joining Menendez and Reed in introducing the America LEADS Act were Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL),  Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Ranking Member  Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).


The America LEADS Act also includes provisions that strengthen America’s diplomatic, economic, military and soft power posture in the Indo-Pacific and around the globe; promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law; and safeguard our nation’s innovation and creativity from China’s predatory trade and economic practices.  Most importantly, the America LEADS Act takes significant steps to replenish the sources of our competitiveness at home, with big investments in American workers, education, scientific research and our nation’s industrial base.

“This legislation shows that Democrats know how to lead on the thorny issues presented by China's actions in the economic and security spheres,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “The Trump administration has failed miserably, and it is time for an approach based on cooperation with our allies and investing in our economy to promote job creation.”

“Workers need Congress to prioritize the creation of domestic jobs, Sens. Schumer and Menendez took a strong step forward to reshoring, rebuilding, and securing our domestic supply chains with the America LEADS Act,” said United Steelworkers President Tom Conway.

“Global competition, especially from China, for leadership in the advanced-technology industries critical to powering American economic prosperity intensifies daily. The America LEADS Act represents a comprehensive geostrategic response, bolstering all elements of America’s national power, to meet this challenge,” said President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Rob Atkinson. “This vital legislation significantly boosts federal R&D funding; expands science, technology, and innovation programs; bolsters manufacturing-support programs like Manufacturing USA and MEP; restores the defense industrial base; significantly increases federal investment in STEM and workforce training programs; and calls for expanding alliances with like-minded nations in the Indo-Pacific region. America LEADS is the legislation America urgently needs right now if it’s to remain competitive into the future, and it merits full bipartisan support and timely passage.”

SUMMARY: The America LEADS Act

•  Invests in American workers and restores United States’ competitiveness in science and technology, manufacturing, global infrastructure, digital technologies, and global clean energy development, by increasing federal funding for research and development, including investment to lead in the development and production of new and emerging technologies like 5G, quantum, and artificial intelligence that will define the twenty-first century, taking action to strengthen domestic supply chains, and providing support for domestic manufacturing industries like semiconductors.

•  Confronts China’s education and influence campaigns by requiring new reporting requirements and invests in registered apprenticeships, training, and STEM education programs with a focus on building a diverse and inclusive innovation and manufacturing workforce for the 21st Century.

•  Renews and reorients the United States’ diplomatic strategy towards China centered on America’s commitment to its allies around the world and in the Indo-Pacific region, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand, and Taiwan, and calls for the United States to reassert its leadership within regional and international organizations, like the World Health Organization and the G7.

•  Reaffirms America’s strong security commitment in the Indo-Pacific and a forward-deployed posture in the region to ensure that all nations can exercise their rights in the region’s international waters and airspace, and directs the United States to provide additional assistance and training to countries under the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative. The bill also provides regional strategies to confront malign PRC influence in the Western Hemisphere, South and Central Asia, Africa, the Arctic region, and the Middle East and North Africa.

•  Invests in our values, authorizing a broad range of efforts to support human rights and civil society measures, especially as they relate to Tibet, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), and Hong Kong, including allowing certain Hong Kong citizens and residents of Xinjiang to apply for admission to the United States.  The bill also directs the President to report foreign persons identified for engaging in and facilitating forced labor in China and to apply sanctions to Chinese officials complicit in human rights violations.

•  Focuses on countering and confronting China’s predatory international economic behavior, and includes measures to strengthen trade enforcement across a wide range of areas, including intellectual property, supply chains, currency manipulation, and counterfeit goods.

•  Requires the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to provide assistance to support allies and partners to review foreign investment transactions that could pose national security risks.