Congress Must Further Support American Competitiveness on the World Stage

Jenn Duff is the Vice Mayor of Mesa and is in her first term as a Mesa City Councilmember. She is also a longtime Mesa small business owner and has led efforts to revitalize the City’s downtown.

Challenges to American economic preeminence are nothing new, but the efforts and strategies employed by foreign adversaries are constantly growing and evolving, creating a more complicated landscape that American government stakeholders and leading innovators must navigate to remain competitive.

We all know that it is imperative that we invest in our industries, workers, and economy, to constantly innovate and develop new technologies that showcase the ingenuity of American industry. There is no time to waste when our competition is doing the same, and we should employ every effort to stay one step ahead.

And today, Congress is poised to make decisions that will either push us to stay ahead or institute policies that will hold us back.

The CHIPS Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Biden earlier this week is the first step.

However, the larger competition bill, from which the CHIPS Act came,  centered on China, should still be considereded, and, if passed, would be a major boost to our manufacturing capabilities. Especially as we battle inflation and a rocky economy, it has never been clearer that global competition is a constant pressure.

We need to be bolstering critical industries, and that’s exactly what the competition bill would do. As one of our most prominent sectors, the tech field is of particular importance when it comes to uplifting innovative developments and leading products. With this bill in place, we would be championing a sector that is doing more to bring the American economy ahead.

At the same time, some legislators in Washington are seeking to handicap the very sectors that we need to uplift. An antitrust proposal circulated by members of the House and Senate seeks to cut off the resources and abilities to lead technology companies, setting off a domino effect of impact on consumers and small businesses who benefit tremendously from the tools developed by our leading innovators. Where the China competition bill would make our industries stronger, poorly-timed antitrust legislation would deplete them.

Congress would be wise to stick to the right issues and avoid hamstringing our tech sector, especially for states like Arizona where the innovation economy is driving progress. Mesa and other Arizona communities have risen as hot spots for tech talent, and we should be promoting development at every turn. In particular, Mesa’s aerospace and defense sector has driven economic development and job growth and played a significant role in attracting and retaining a highly skilled workforce.

With Congress deadlocked on most issues, a bill ensuring our country continues to be globally competitive and outpace adversaries like China would be a welcome win. There is no question amongst legislators that we want the US economy to remain a global leader, which is why the China competition bill has moved through the legislative process with robust bipartisan support.

Both House and Senate members have discussed and debated the bill and it is critical that a final version be sent to the President before the midterm cycle. Thankfully, Senator Mark Kelly, one of the original co-sponsors of the China competition bill, has remained a stalwart advocate for the legislation.

In these challenging times, both politically and economically, politicians should seize the opportunity to focus on tangible wins for our communities. That means dropping combative anti-tech legislation and focusing on bolstering critical manufacturing and research capabilities.