HomeTechnologyBill to boost semiconductor industry passes key test in Senate

Bill to boost semiconductor industry passes key test in Senate

By KEVIN FREKINGAssociated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Tuesday introduced a $280 billion bill designed to boost America’s semiconductor industry and accelerate high-tech research that its backers say will be critical to the economy in the coming years. decades.

The Senate needed 60 votes to advance the bill and the vote was 64-32. The legislation is now on its way to final approval in the Senate, likely on Wednesday. The House is also expected to deal with the package this week.

The White House has led support for the bill, along with industry leaders who say government subsidies are necessary to compete with other nations that are also spending billions of dollars to attract manufacturers. They say the pandemic has exposed the dangers to the economy and national security of relying too heavily on foreign-made computer chips.

The bill provides about $52 billion in grants and other incentives for the semiconductor industry, as well as a 25% tax credit for those companies that build chip plants, or factories, in the US. The cost of the tax break is projected to be around $24 billion over 10 years. The bill also authorizes around $200 billion to improve scientific research during the same time period.

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The bill drew support from lawmakers from both parties who say the investment is critical to US innovation and staying ahead of economic rivals for decades to come, namely China.

“I firmly believe that passing this bill will be a turning point for American leadership in this century,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. “The benefits of this legislation will reverberate across the country for years and decades to come.”

The Congressional Budget Office projected that the bill would increase deficits by about $79 billion over 10 years. Critics have objected to the spending called for in the bill as misplaced or excessive.

“At a time when working families in this country are falling further and further behind while the very rich are getting much richer, let’s get our priorities right,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell led a group of 17 Republican senators who voted to limit debate and advance the bill. While some Republicans have raised concerns about the spending on the bill, others have emphasized the need to address national security vulnerabilities resulting from the US reliance on plants in Taiwan and South Korea for the most advanced computer chips. .

“We’re not used to providing these kinds of financial incentives to companies, but when it costs 30 percent less to build these manufacturing facilities in the seas off Asia and our access to that supply chain is potentially threatened by very real threats, it’s a necessary investment we need to make,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Schumer said in an interview with The Associated Press that without the federal government making an investment in chip manufacturing and scientific research, “our economy would falter and prospects for good-paying jobs in America would shrink.”

“You don’t talk about other things that are more immediate, but this is going to change America for the better in a very real way and it will be seen as a turning point where America said, ‘We can compete and we can win.’ instead of running away,” Schumer said.

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