Biden Signs $280 Billion CHIPS Act in Bid to Boost US Over China
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President Joe Biden enacted into law legislation designed to enhance domestic semiconductor manufacturing and alleviate supply chain bottlenecks.
At a signing ceremony for the bill at the White House on Aug. 9, Biden emphasized its potential economic and social benefits.
“As we saw during the pandemic,” Biden told the crowd, which included members of Congress and industry stakeholders, “when factories that make these chips shut down, the global economy comes to a screeching halt.”
The president also highlighted the law’s merits.
“It’s in our economic interest,” he said, “and it is in our national security interest.”
Democratic congressional leaders and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo joined Biden. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, each of whom managed a bipartisan team of colleagues to pass the bill, touted the measure’s aim of improving economic conditions for the large-scale production of semiconductors.
“This is a bill about make it in America,” Pelosi said at the ceremony. “Our technology has altered the course of history and our workforce, our workforce has been the envy of the world.”
Specifically, the CHIPS and Science Act dedicates more than $50 billion in grants for the semiconductor sector and related industries. The law also targets myriad programs to boost resources in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
For months, Raimondo pressed Congress to pass the semiconductor bill. The secretary had argued during congressional hearings the legislation’s provisions would respond to national security concerns and provide economic assurances for stakeholders. Raimondo, addressing the crowd at the White House before Biden, focused on potential employment opportunities, insisting the law paves the way for “creating hundreds of thousands of high-quality, high-paying manufacturing jobs in the United States of America.”
“It means unleashing the next generation of American innovation,” the secretary added. “It means building more secure supply chains and protecting Americans’ global leadership and values for leaders and generations to come.”
The legislation had garnered bipartisan support during consideration on Capitol Hill, and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) helped lead negotiations in the Senate.
“One thing is very clear: The United States needed to invest in CHIPS and Science so that our advanced manufacturing was competitive in a global economy,” the chairwoman said prior to the bill’s signing. “We’re now asking states to prepare to train and skill a workforce so we can be the leader in design and manufacturing of advanced chips. And I think you know very well, how important that is to new products, to services and [to] national security.”
The commercial transportation sector also called on Congress to clear the legislation for the president to sign into law. American Trucking Associations was among the stakeholders supporting the bill.
“Semiconductors and computer chips make our economy and industry run — right down to the trucks we drive — and we have seen the consequences of decades of neglecting domestic manufacturing of these critical components,” ATA Executive Vice President for Advocacy Bill Sullivan said during Congress’ debate of the measure. Sullivan further emphasized its provisions pave the way for “rebuilding our capacity to manufacture semiconductors here in America — shoring up our national security, shortening supply chains and reducing costs for businesses across the economy.”
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