House leaders unveil bill to boost chip industry, science competitiveness with China

House Democratic leaders unveiled legislation on Tuesday aimed at bolstering investments in U.S. science research and development to better compete with China and address the shortage of semiconductor chips.

The Senate previously passed its own version of the bill in June. But House Democrats opted to go their own route and are now introducing their preferred proposal more than six months later as the Biden administration is urging Congress to help enable increased domestic chip production.

Shortages of the chips that power cars, computers and other electronics have exacerbated recent supply chain bottlenecks.

Democrats, eager to show that they’re taking action to address the supply chain problems that have caused the price of many goods and services to spike in recent months, are now turning to the long-awaited legislation.

It’s not clear yet precisely when the House, which is out of session this week, will take up the legislation for a vote.

Some individual components of the bill have already passed in the House, such as two bipartisan measures to increase funding for National Science Foundation and Department of Energy research.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that the House bill would eventually be merged with the Senate’s version to get it to Biden’s desk “as soon as possible.”

“Now is the time to recommit to boldly and strategically investing in our nation’s future, and to do so in a way that strengthens the supply chain, lowers costs and ensures that America can out-compete any nation, today and for decades to come,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the introduction of the House bill “an important step forward.”

“We have no time to waste in improving American competitiveness, strengthening our lead in global innovation, and addressing supply chain challenges, including in the semiconductor industry,” Schumer said Tuesday.

Eighteen GOP senators joined all Democrats in backing the Senate version of the bill last summer.

The sweeping package unveiled Tuesday includes $52 billion to incentivize domestic semiconductor chip production.

It would also authorize another $45 billion in grants, loans and loan guarantees through the Department of Commerce to help support the resilience and supply chains, including enhancing manufacturing facilities and creating surge capacity.

The legislation would take steps to exert diplomatic pressure on China, including by imposing sanctions for its alleged human rights abuses against the Uyghurs.

It would also provide temporary protected status and refugee status for qualifying residents of Hong Kong, which would be officially considered as a foreign state separate from the Chinese government.

Another provision would create climate change officer positions within the foreign service who would be tasked with supporting U.S. engagement on climate change. The bill would also increase the number of State Department personnel focused on the Indo-Pacific region.

Tags China Chuck Schumer Nancy Pelosi Semiconductor

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