On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., introduced the “American Critical Mineral Exploration and Innovation Act” which, he insisted, will “reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of critical minerals and bring the U.S. supply chain from China back to America.”
Waltz unveiled the bill, which has 37 cosponsors–all part of the Republican minority–including U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla. Other backers include U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, who leads Republicans on the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., who is the top member of the GOP on the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.
“Minerals have applications in healthcare, defense systems and renewable energy. China has dominated and controlled the critical minerals market for years. Fourteen of the 35 critical minerals identified by the United States Geological Survey are imported to the U.S. at a rate of 100 percent,” Waltz’s office noted about the bill.
“From healthcare to electronics and our defense systems, critical minerals are integral to our way of life. Unfortunately, China currently has a stronghold on the supply of these natural resources,” said Waltz. “As coronavirus has unfortunately demonstrated, if China can threaten to cut off our pharmaceutical supply, they can do the same with their supply of rare earth minerals. We need to bring this supply chain back to America – and this bill will be an important step to do that.”
“The world has paid a costly price for China’s dangerous missteps on how they have handled this pandemic. The Chinese Communist Party hid the severity of the virus, manipulated statistics and still refuse to allow international experts to investigate or share viral samples with the scientific community,” said McCarthy. “What this health crisis has also exposed is our dangerous dependence on China when it comes to our supply chain. We can no longer afford inaction. That is why I am proud Republicans on the Natural Resources and Science, Space and Technology Committees, an effort led by Representatives Waltz and Gosar, are working together on a legislative fix that would restore stability and independence to our critical minerals supply chain. The American Critical Minerals Exploration and Innovation Act will make sure our country continues to become stronger on the other side of this pandemic and will help us follow through on a national commitment to put America’s energy future into our own hands.”
The bill has been sent to the U.S. House Natural Resources; Science, Space, and Technology; Small Business; Judiciary; and the Education and Labor Committees. So far, there is no counterpart over in the U.S. Senate.
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