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White House blasts McConnell for threatening to tank China competition bill

The White House lashed out at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., over his threat to hold up negotiations on the bipartisan innovation bill if Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., moves forward with a reconciliation bill aimed at tackling prescription drug costs and climate change.

“Senator McConnell is holding hostage a bipartisan package to make more in America and strengthen our competitive edge with China to protect big Pharma’s profits. It’s outrageous – we can and must do both,” a White House official told Fox News. 

“Leader McConnell himself agreed last fall that bipartisan negotiations shouldn’t be paused for other priorities saying: ‘Republicans have been negotiating in bipartisan good faith to meet the real infrastructure needs of our nation. The President cannot let congressional Democrats hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process.’”

At issue is McConnell’s refusal to take up consideration of the China bill, officially titled the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), a bill with bipartisan support that seeks to make the U.S. global competitiveness in technological research. McConnell supports the bill, but said he would tank the legislation if Democrats continue their push for a reconciliation bill aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs that Republicans say will make inflation even worse.


“We’ve got rampant inflation worse than any time in 40 years Now, believe it or not, even after that, they wanted to do even more,” McConnell warned.

The Kentucky senator took things a step further last month, vowing to spike the bipartisan bill completely.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Let me be perfectly clear: there will be no bipartisan USICA as long as Democrats are pursuing a partisan reconciliation bill,” McConnell said on Twitter last week. 

McConnell’s threat has rankled the White House, which wants to see the legislation pushed across the finish line.

“We are ready to finish this negotiation and pass a bill – it’s now or never,” the White House told Fox News. “Other countries aren’t waiting – they are offering tax incentives for companies to invest in new manufacturing lines and companies are making investment decisions. Let’s get it done.”

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the economy and the final rule implementing the American Rescue Plans Special Financial Assistance program, protecting multi employer pension plans, at Max S. Hayes High School in Cleveland, Ohio, July 6, 2022. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

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