Bill to increase U.S. chip production and competition with China removes significant Senate hurdle
July 28, 2022: -A bipartisan bill to bolster domestic semiconductor manufacturing and increase U.S. competitiveness with China is clearing a key Senate vote, setting it up for last passage in the chamber in the future days.
The cloture vote to break the legislative filibuster was initially set for Monday evening. Still, it had been postponed until after severe thunderstorms on the East Coast interfered with a few senators’ travel plans.
The vote passed 64-32. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he is hoping lawmakers “can stay on track to finish this legislation ASAP.”
The package, called “CHIPS-plus,” includes roughly $52 billion in funding for U.S. companies that produce computer chips and a provision that provides a tax credit for investment in chip manufacturing. It provides the funds to spur the creation and growth of different U.S. technologies.
If it passes the Senate as expected, the House will take up the legislation. Supporters of the bill hope Congress will pass it and send it to President Joe Biden for his signature just before the August recess starts in two weeks.
According to those advocates, the legislation is vital for U.S. economic and national security interests in a world dependent on technological advancement. They argue that the bill could help counteract the effects of a Covid-induced global chip shortage and put the U.S. in a more competitive place with China, investing heavily in its chip-making capabilities.
“America invents the semiconductor. It has to bring it back home,” Biden said in a meeting at the White House. The president, who tested positive for Covid in the previous week, participated in the discussion virtually.
The legislation “is going to advance our competitiveness and technological edge of the nation,” Biden said, which urges Congress to “pass this bill by possible.”
CHIPS-plus is a pared-down version of broader legislation that was long stewing in the House and Senate. The more considerable measure came under threat from Republican leadership earlier this month.
The thinner bill passed an early procedural motion last week in a bipartisan 64-34 vote.
On Monday, the votes came as Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, separately announced that they tested positive for Covid. Both senators said they would work remotely and follow CDC distancing guidelines, but Senate rules require them to vote in person.
Their diagnoses are not to derail the Senate’s efforts to pass CHIPS-plus but could impede Democrats’ other legislative goals before the August recess.
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