Schumer Readies Vote On Scaled-back Computer Chips Bill

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is telling senators to expect an initial vote as early as Tuesday on scaled-back legislation that would provide grants, tax credits and other financial incentives for companies that build semiconductor manufacturing plants in the U.S.

The House and Senate passed broad bills with numerous trade provisions and additional funds for research. They also called for regional technology hubs to be developed across the nation. But, legislators have failed to come up with a solution that would allow 60 votes to be cast in the Senate. That is enough to get over procedural hurdles.

Lacking a larger agreement, Schumer, D-N.Y., will move to take up a “limited competition bill” that includes the $52 billion in financial incentives and research that was at the heart of the bills passed in the House and the Senate. It would also include a semiconductor investment tax credit, and additional pieces could be added if they’re ready.

Schumer’s plans were described by a person familiar with the private deliberations who was granted anonymity to discuss them.

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In recent days the Biden administration has intensified its support for the semiconductor bill, calling on lawmakers to act before August recess.

Gina Raimondo, Commerce Secretary, and other Administration officials met behind closed doors on Wednesday with Senators to discuss national security concerns regarding reliance on foreign countries for the production of computer chip chips.

“Bottom line is there are very real, very devastating consequences if Congress doesn’t do its job in the month of July,” Raimondo said.

These effects will not only lead to fewer job opportunities, but also an increased dependence on other countries for semiconductors. This is crucial for devices such as cars and smartphones. The bill would provide funding for the U.S. government to help with some costs of building and renovating new semiconductor plants.

Raimondo states that computer chipmakers already receive lucrative incentives from countries like South Korea, Japan and France to establish plants there. She cited Monday’s announcement by STMicroelectronics and GlobalFoundries to build a semiconductor factory in France as an example of other countries moving faster than the U.S. on the issue.

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