WASHINGTON – A bill designed to encourage more semiconductor companies to build chip plants in the United States passed the Senate on Wednesday as lawmakers scrambled to finish work on a key Biden administration priority.
The $ 280 billion measure, pending the House vote, includes federal grants and tax breaks for companies building their chip plants in the U.S. The legislation also directs Congress to significantly increase spending on high-research programs. -tech that, according to lawmakers, will help the country remain economically competitive in the decades to come.
The move to the Senate came with a vote of 64-33. The House vote is expected later this week when lawmakers will try to close deals before returning to their home states and districts in August. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said she is confident there is enough support from the GOP to overcome potential defections from Democrats who see the grant effort to increase semiconductor companies as a misplaced priority.
Proponents of the legislation say other countries are spending billions of dollars to attract chip makers. Proponents say the US must do the same or risk losing a safe supply of semiconductors that power automobiles, computers, appliances and some of the Army’s most advanced weapon systems. The auto industry, in particular, has been plagued by supply chain problems caused in large part by the shortage of chips following the Covid lockdown in 2020.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DNY, said the bill represented one of the nation’s largest investments in science and manufacturing in decades and that with Senate approval “we say the best years of the America are yet to come. “
Opponents have been critical of the bill price. Federal deficits are projected to increase by approximately $ 79 billion over 10 years.
President Joe Biden said the bill will create jobs and cut costs on a wide range of products, from automobiles to dishwashers.
“For decades, some ‘experts’ have argued that we had to give up manufacturing in America. I never believed it. Production jobs are back, “Biden said.” Thanks to this bill, we’ll have even more. The House should promptly approve it and send this bill to my desk. “
The bill has been in the works for years, starting with the efforts of Schumer and Senator Todd Young, R-Ind., To increase government investment in high-tech research and development. Although the bill took several twists and turns, a constant theme that lawmakers repeatedly stressed during Wednesday’s debate was the need to keep up with China’s massive investments in cutting-edge technology.
The Chinese government is planning to “win the race for artificial intelligence, win future wars and win the future,” Young said. “And the truth is, if we’re honest with ourselves, Beijing is well on its way to achieving these goals.”
Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Said, “Unfortunately we are not in the driver’s seat of a number of important technologies. China is “. Congress, he said, now has “a chance to bring us back in the right direction and get America back to a place to win the game.”