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Senate passes bill to boost computer chip production in the US

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Washington (AP) — Invoice Designed to encourage more semiconductor companies to build chip factories In the US, the Senate passed Wednesday, with lawmakers vying to finish work on key priorities. of the Biden administration.

A $280 billion bill awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives includes federal subsidies and tax breaks for companies building chip facilities in the United States. The law also directs Congress to significantly increase spending on high-tech research programs. Economic competitiveness several decades ahead.

The Senate motion was passed by a vote of 64 to 33. A vote in the House is scheduled for later this week, with lawmakers looking to wrap up their jobs before returning to her home state and district in August.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (California Democrat) said that enough Republicans to overcome a potential defection from Democrats who see subsidy efforts to boost semiconductor companies as a misplaced priority He said he believed he had the support of

Seventeen Republicans voted in favor of the bill. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) set himself apart from the Democrats by voting against the bill.

Supporters of the law say other countries are spending billions of dollars to lure chip makers. Proponents argue that the United States must do the same. Otherwise, you risk losing the secure supply of semiconductors that power automobiles, computers, appliances, and some of the military’s most advanced weapons systems.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) said the bill was one of the biggest investments in science and manufacturing in decades and, with Senate approval, was “America’s Greatest Year.” has not yet come,” he said.

Opponent was critical of the price tag on the invoice. The federal deficit is projected to increase by about $79 billion over his decade.

President Joe Biden said the bill would create jobs and cut costs on products ranging from cars to dishwashers.

“For decades, some ‘experts’ said we needed to give up manufacturing in America. I never believed it. Manufacturing jobs are back.” said Mr Biden. “Thanks to this bill, we can get more people. The House should pass it quickly and send this bill to my desk.”

The bill has been in the works for years, starting with Schumer and Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.)’s efforts to increase government investment in high-tech research and development. The bill has taken its tolls, but one of the consistent themes lawmakers reiterated during Wednesday’s debate was the need to keep up with China’s massive investment in cutting-edge technology.

The Chinese government plans to “win the (artificial intelligence) race, win the future war, 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: China. Congress now “has a chance to get us back on the right track and get America back to where we win the game,” he said.

The bill would provide more than $52 billion in subsidies and other incentives for the semiconductor industry, as well as a 25% tax credit for companies investing in US chip factories. It is requesting increased spending on various research programs totaling about $200 billion. Congress needs to follow through by approving that money in future appropriations bills.

Despite years of work, the bill’s future didn’t look so promising about a month ago. Republican support is essential to get the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster in the Senate.

But when West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin dismissed the idea of ​​imposing tax hikes on the wealthy and corporations, leading Republicans said it was the catalyst to push semiconductors forward. The Biden administration, meanwhile, put pressure on the bill to pass before the August recess, even if it meant narrowing the focus significantly to $52 billion in semiconductor incentives.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimond has publicly told lawmakers behind the scenes that semiconductor companies are planning on how to meet the growing demand for chips. Industry growth will move forward with or without the U.S., she said, and if lawmakers don’t act soon, those companies will choose to build in other countries that offer important financial incentives. .

Schumer said he called chipmakers and company CEOs such as General Motors and Ford after McConnell’s remarks and reached out to “unlikely allies” such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable. rice field. He urged them to contact Republican senators about the bill’s importance.

“And they changed things,” Schumer told the Associated Press. “They really, for the first time, industry really helped a good government program.”

The House could take up the bill as early as Thursday. Most Republicans are expected to oppose it, but some of the leading Republicans on committees dealing with national security – Rep. Michael McCall of Texas, Rep. Michael Turner of Ohio, John of New York Rep. Katko – supports the bill. As do many Republicans in a bipartisan group called the “Caucus of Problem Solvers,” made up of moderates from both parties.