WASHINGTON—The Senate on Tuesday approved a bipartisan, $250 billion bill boosting government spending on technology research and development amid rising competition from China and other nations.
The bill passed 68-32. It won approval after being delayed just before the Senate’s Memorial Day recess, as some Republican lawmakers raised last-minute concerns about its size and scope.
The legislation represents a potential landmark effort to turn the tide on several long-term trends in U.S. competitiveness. Those include eroding federal investments in research overall and a shrinking share of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing.
Backers contend the U.S. also has lacked an agency clearly focused on cutting-edge science such as artificial intelligence technology. The bill proposes an expanded role for the National Science Foundation to fill that gap.