Daines, GOP colleagues unveil bill to enhance oversight of U.S.-China science, tech agreements

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) on Sept. 21 joined 15 of his Republican colleagues in offering a bill that aims to bolster oversight of science and technology agreements between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

“Montanans saw firsthand the malign influence of the Chinese Communist Party when a spy balloon floated right over our nuclear missile fields and Malmstrom Air Force Base before flying over the rest of the country untouched,” Sen. Daines said. “It’s time for Congress to hold the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] accountable because the Biden administration is not and this bill helps us do just that.”

The U.S.-China Science and Technology Agreement, originally signed in 1979 and renewed about every five years since, is the framework that facilitates research cooperation between the governments of the U.S. and PRC and academic institutions in both countries. The agreement, last renewed in 2018, was set to expire last month but the Biden administration recently extended it for another six months, according to Sen. Daines’ office.

The lawmaker cosponsored the Science and Technology Agreement Enhanced Congressional Notification Act of 2023, S. 2894, to require the U.S. Secretary of State to provide details to Congress about any new, renewed, or extended agreement and establish a minimum 30-day congressional review period.

S. 2894 is sponsored by U.S. Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-NE) alongside 14 other GOP original cosponsors, including U.S. Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Todd Young (R-IN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

If enacted, S. 2894 would require the U.S. Secretary of State to provide Congress with specific reporting requirements for any U.S.-China science and technology agreements within 60 days. If the deadline is not met, any existing agreement with the PRC would be revoked, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Daines’ staff.

The bill has been referred to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee for consideration.