“The CHIPS and Science Act is exactly what we need to do to grow our economy right now,” the president said in a statement after the House passed the bill. “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.
Democratic leader lawmakers described it as a “turning point” in federal government involvement in strategic industries.
“We used to leave our businesses alone and say, go do your thing,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in an interview Wednesday, before the Senate passed the package.
“But now there are nation states – in Europe, Asia, particularly China – that are investing heavily in science and advanced manufacturing, and if we sit back and do nothing, the America will become a second-rate economic power.”
The House vote caps two years of winding negotiations that culminated Thursday, as Democrats held ranks in favor of the bill, fending off a late House GOP revolt.
Dozens of Republicans were expected to support the chip legislation, after 17 Republicans voted in favor of the bill in the Senate. But many turned on him after Democrats announced Wednesday night – after the Senate voted on the bill – that they would move forward with a stand-alone climate, health care and tax package, in using a procedure known as reconciliation.
The move angered Republicans, who had threatened to stall the chip bill unless Democrats agreed to drop their larger spending and tax plans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell allowed the chip bill to move through the Senate after it emerged the reconciliation plan was dead – only for Democrats to revive it hours after the passage of the flea bill.
“They lied about reconciliation,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Thursday morning ahead of the vote. McCarthy said that after Democrats announced their reconciliation bill, he received calls from some GOP senators who had supported the chip legislation, asking him to vote against it.
Even so, 24 House GOP members supported the legislation’s eventual passage. This includes the Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee Michael McCaul (R-Texas), who said the national security issues that fueled the bill needed to be addressed.
“I get the classified briefings, not all of these members,” McCaul told reporters ahead of the vote. “It’s vitally important to our national security.”
Democrats’ decision earlier this month to drastically cut legislation that included not only chip subsidies but also key trade and national security provisions targeting China meant that thousands of pages of legislation discussed in a conference committee inter-chambers were left on the cutting room floor. In recent days, lawmakers pledged to continue negotiations on those measures in the coming months, although none expressed confidence that another deal could be reached in an election year.