Following a strong show of bipartisan support in the Senate, the CHIPS Act dodged last-minute attempts by the House GOP leadership to derail its passage. The lower house of Congress approved the $280 billion bill by a vote of 243 to 187. Twenty-four House Republicans backed the law, which is aimed at the office of staunch supporter Joe Biden.
While the bill has received broader support for its efforts to revive domestic semiconductor production, a deal between Sen. Joe Machin and Democrats on an unrelated bill has seemingly put it in jeopardy. in the last 24 hours.
GOP Congressman Frank Lucas expressed the sentiments of many members of his party in a floor speech earlier today, noting,
House Republicans have worked in good faith throughout this time to achieve consensus legislation that can be passed by both houses. But time and time again, we have been thwarted as Democratic leaders moved the goal posts, halted the process, and chose their partisan, divisive policies over a smart bipartisan bill that would benefit our country for generations. I understand why people on my side of the room are furious. I share these concerns. And I’ve been here long enough to know that’s not the way to do things.
For better or for worse – and it’s very clearly for worse – CHIPS and the Science Act have been irrevocably linked to massive tax hikes and a reconciliation spending spree.
On Twitter, Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy made it clear that he was opposed to the bill from the outset, writing, “The Senate has written a blank check for $280 billion to give to whoever Biden wants. . For the record, I am NO on the CHIPS bill. I was NO last week, NO yesterday and NO today. All Republicans should reject it.
The bill had already come under scrutiny from a small but vocal number of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, who accused it of supporting “corporate welfare,” for billions of taxpayer dollars that would go to chip production.
Biden has been one of the bill’s staunchest supporters in recent weeks, touting what the $58 billion for chipmaking will mean for US jobs and security in an industry that has been put on hold. away by a myriad of world events. Over the past few decades, the majority of semiconductor manufacturing has taken place in Asia, particularly in Taiwan. Such geographic concentration has made the industry much more susceptible to outside forces – of which there have been many lately, from Covid-related shutdowns to weather conditions to global conflicts, both cold (US/ China) and hot (Russia/Ukraine).
Intel, in particular, stands to gain from the passage of the bill. The component maker previously suspended the grand opening of its $20 billion manufacturing plant in Ohio in a move that many called a “stunt”, after previous versions of the bill failed to get through. Congressional approval. “Congratulations to the House and Senate for voting in favor of the CHIPS law funding,” CEO Pat Gelsinger wrote after the vote. “This investment will shape the future of American leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and innovation. We are excited to be moving full speed ahead to start building.
Biden reacted to the bill’s passage in real time, during an economics roundtable with a group of CEOs. President rejoiced in the victory, after the vote, noting, “The CHIPS and Science Act is exactly what we need to do to grow our economy right now. By making more semiconductors in the United States, this bill will increase domestic manufacturing and reduce costs for families. And it will strengthen our national security by making us less dependent on foreign sources of semiconductors. This bill includes important safeguards to ensure that companies that receive taxpayers’ money invest in America and that unionized workers build new manufacturing plants across the country.
The president added, “I look forward to signing this bill into law and continuing to grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle for working families across the country.”