US Senate passes bill that boosts American chip manufacturing


Bolstering chip manufacturing in the United States.
Photo: Intel

The U.S. Senate passed a bill Tuesday that could see the United States invest $52 billion in growing its own chip manufacturing technologies. The $52 billion is part of a broader bipartisan bill. In total, it aims to invest close to $250 billion in U.S. manufacturing and technology.

The bill passed Tuesday with a 68-32 vote. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer described it as likely to “go down as one of the most important things this chamber has done in a very long time.”

It is an attempt to wrestle back control of some of the world’s tech manufacturing from China.

“Whoever wins the race to the technologies of the future is going to the be global economic leader — with profound consequences for foreign policy and national security as well,” said Schumer.

However, there’s still a way to go before this is signed into law, according to Bloomberg:

“Despite the broad support in the Senate and an endorsement from President Joe Biden’s administration, the bill’s fate in the House is uncertain. House leaders haven’t publicly committed to acting on the Senate bill or set out a course of action beyond the House Science Committee considering its own plan for revamping the National Science Foundation.

However, Schumer said he’s talked with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Science Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson about the approach taken in the lower chamber. He said the Senate bill, after various amendments, is now closer to what the House is working on.

‘It’s in President Biden’s agenda and I’m quite certain that we will get a really good product on the president’s desk,’ Schumer said.”

Chinese manufacturing

China’s tight grip on manufacturing has been a cause for concern for some time. Apple has long manufactured the vast majority of its products in China. During Donald Trump’s presidency, that arrangement was threatened due to talk of new trade tariffs.

Apple CEO Tim Cook told Apple manufacturers to start exploring overseas possibilities, such as Vietnam and India for manufacturing. While this has started, it’s going to take some time to lessen Apple’s overall reliance on China.

Cupertino has also started to embrace U.S. manufacturing more. It has its $5 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund for investing in American businesses. Apple also reportedly insists that the batteries for its long-rumored car be made in the United States.

China, for its part, is unsurprisingly not very happy about the bill. Lawmakers asked Congress to “immediately stop” work on the bill. This is on the basis that it “smears China’s development path and domestic and foreign policies.”

Source: Bloomberg