This week, the U.S. Senate and House approved the Chips and Science Act, authorizing the expense of $280 billion to support tech hubs and innovation in America, particularly to strengthen the creation of semiconductor chips.
The legislation—over a 1,000 pages— was passed in the Senate with a vote of 64-33, and in the House with 243-187. Now, the bill awaits the approval of President Biden.
Washington Senator Maria Cantwell spearheaded the effort.
‘This is about innovation everywhere, this is about growing opportunity everywhere. We can’t ignore that chip production has gone overseas and that the United States has lost its share of that production,’ said Cantwell, Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
She reported that the shortage of chips had resulted in a loss of $240 billion to the U.S. over the past year. She also noted that the U.S. makes about 12% of the current world supply of chips, which are vital to the manufacturing of electronics and vehicles. Cantwell stated that when the percentage becomes too low, the manufacturing ecosystem will be lost.
Biden reiterated some of these points after the Senate vote.
‘We used to make these chips. We don’t make many of them anymore. The investment now in building more factories to make these chips is going to bring down the price of everything from automobiles to everything across the board. But more importantly, it’s going to create thousands of good paying jobs,’ said Biden in a Twitter video.
The act disburses the $280 billion unevenly between the revival of chip production, programs supporting research in basic science, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and other programs regarding space technology and STEM education in local communities.
According to a report by Roll Call, the legislation almost veered off course earlier this month because of the efforts of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Lawmakers in support of the act however spurred on because of a classified briefing for senators warning that the U.S. was losing out to foreign tech ventures.
‘This is one of the most significant long-term thinking bills we’ve passed in a very long time,’ said Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer after the vote.
‘Our grandchildren will hold good paying jobs in industries we can’t even imagine because of what we are doing right now and we did it together, both sides cooperating in good faith, on some truly difficult issues,’ said Schumer.
By Marvellous Iwendi.