Congress passes chips bill giving lawmakers, Biden bipartisan win – USA TODAY

Share Article

WASHINGTON —   The House approved a sweeping bipartisan bill Thursday to boost the domestic manufacturing of computer chips, giving President Joe Biden a badly needed legislative win before lawmakers leave Washington for summer recess. 
House members approved the legislation, which includes roughly $52 billion in incentives for the semiconductor industry, by a 243-187 vote. Twenty-four Republicans bucked GOP leaders and joined Democrats to approve the bill, while every no vote came from a Republican. The Senate approved the legislation Wednesday.
Reducing the United States’ reliance on chips produced in China has been a priority for Biden. He urged Congress to take swift action to improve U.S. output of semiconductors, framing the issue as an economic and national security imperative.
An aide handed Biden a note during a White House roundtable with business leaders informing him of the bill’s passage. “Sorry for the interruption!” the president said with a smile, letting others know the legislation cleared the House.
In a prepared statement after the vote, Biden said the bill will make cars, computers and appliances cheaper, calling the legislation “exactly what we need to be doing to grow our economy right now.”
“By making more semiconductors in the United States, this bill will increase domestic manufacturing and lower costs for families. And, it will strengthen our national security by making us less dependent on foreign sources of semiconductors,” the president said.
The bill heads to Biden’s desk for his signature. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said a date hasn’t been scheduled for Biden to sign the bill into law.
Biden promised rigorous reviews of grant money provided to businesses that invest in semiconductor manufacturing, promising at a White House event that his administration would take back any money that is misused.
Democratic lawmakers and the White House will now turn their focus to passinglegislation that would lower the cost of prescription drugs, extend healthcare subsidies and fund new climate and energy initiatives before Congress leaves Washington for a planned summer recess.
It will take time for consumers to feel the impact of the new government spending on computer chips manufacturing.
As National Economic Council director Brian Deese said this week, financial incentives will affect “companies’ decision-making almost immediately” and hopefully cause them to expand their operations in the U.S.
But he acknowledged: “This is a long-term project, a long-term national project that is of vital economic and national security consequence, and the ultimate impact of that will be felt over the course of years.”
Democratic members of Congress in swing states and districts are facing especially tough reelection battles this fall. Americans are pessimistic about the economy and frustrated with Biden’s leadership, especially when it comes to his handling of inflation and the economy. 
House members are hoping to begin an extended recess this week and senators will soon follow. It’s a critical campaign period for lawmakers who are on the ballot in November from both political parties. The semiconductor legislation gives proponents of the bill something to talk about with their constituents. 
Biden will also be able to offer up the bill’s passage as evidence that his strategy of working with Republicans to pass consequential legislation is working.
Reach Francesca Chambers on Twitter @fran_chambers and Joey Garrison @joeygarrison.


You might also like

Surviving 2nd wave of corona

Surviving The 2nd Wave of Corona

‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort