Ted Cruz seeks to end US dependence on China for rare earth metals

Senator Ted Cruz said he plans to introduce legislation on Tuesday that aims to end U.S. reliance on China for rare earth elements used in the manufacturing of products including consumer electronics, electric vehicles and fighter planes.

The bill is part of a push in Congress to shift supply chains, particularly in industries critical for national defense, away from China and back toward the U.S.

“Much like the Chinese Communist Party has threatened to cut off the U.S. from life-saving medicines made in China, the Chinese Communist Party could also cut off our access to these materials, significantly threatening U.S. national security,” Cruz, a Texas Republican, said in a statement. “The Ore Act will help ensure China never has that opportunity by establishing a rare earth elements and critical minerals supply chain in the U.S.”

The bill would create tax incentives for companies to buy rare earth elements within the U.S. It would also require the Defense Department to do so, and would provide money for pilot programs to expand the American rare earths industry.

The legislation is among a number of proposals to strike back at China — whom many Republicans, including President Donald Trump, fault for not acting sooner to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. which led to more than 280,000 deaths worldwide and more than 80,000 in the U.S.

Cruz and other Republicans have already introduced measures to reduce U.S. dependency on China for drugs and other medical equipment. They have also sponsored legislation to let U.S. citizens sue China over harm caused by the virus and have called for banning live wildlife markets where the virus may have originated.

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