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House passes $280B CHIPS Act

Randy Mancini 4 Jul 29
FILE - The inside of a computer is seen on Feb 23, 2019, in Jersey City, N.J. A global computer chip shortage has made it harder for consumers to get their hands on cars, computers and other modern-day necessities, so Congress is looking to boost chip manufacturing and research in the United States with billions of dollars from the federal government. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

FILE – The inside of a computer is seen on Feb 23, 2019, in Jersey City, N.J. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

The House passed the $280 billion CHIPS Act. All but one Democrat and a cohort of Republicans pushed the legislation through in a 243-to-187 vote on Thursday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the spending package while claiming it would put taxpayer money towards union jobs and lowering costs.

“Make it in America, as Mr. Hollier would say,” stated Pelosi. “Doing so is an economic imperative creating again nearly 100,000 good paying union jobs and lowering costs for American consumers, while producing a crucial component of nearly every major technology we enjoy.”

The bill provides subsidies to domestic semiconductor manufacturing and invests billions in science and technology to help the US compete on the world stage. Fifty-two billion dollars is set aside specifically for microchip makers in the US to encourage them to build plants in America. However, the total cost of the bill is estimated to balloon up to $280 billion over the next five years.

House Republican leadership attempted to rally against the bill, but to no avail. In the lead up to the vote, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) lambasted the bill as wasteful spending in a time of economic turbulence.

McCarthy said the Senate passed a bill that took a small program and “turned it into a $280 billion blank check.” He added, it includes millions in mandatory spending on corporate welfare for whoever President Biden chooses.

The stated objective of the bill is to jump start American semiconductor production to outpace China and ensure American technological independence should Taiwan fall to the People’s Republic. However, Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) argued that pork is more prevalent in the bill than resource war logistics.

“Chips are one of 10 sectors where China is seeking to break American dominance,” he noted. “This bill does not address our issues with China and it certainly does not address issues, the other nine issues.”

The legislation moved through the Senate Wednesday and is now headed to President Biden’s desk.

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