CHIPS Act clears Senate procedural vote, headed for final vote later this week

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CHIPS Act clears Senate procedural vote, headed for final vote later this week

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, seen speaking at a press conference in Washington on June 14, said Tuesday, that he hopes senators can stay on track to pass the CHIPS bill later this week after it cleared a procedural hurdle. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

President Joe Biden’s bill that would incentivize domestic production of semiconductor chips cleared a Senate procedural vote Tuesday morning to break a filibuster and is now headed for a final vote later this week.

The Senate approved cloture on the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America Act, or CHIPS, by a vote of 64 to 32 — with four senators not voting — ending a Republican filibuster that had been placed on the bill.

Biden promoted the bill Monday in a virtual meeting with industry leaders, including the CEOs of Lockheed Martin, Medtronic PLC and Cummins Inc.

The CHIPS bill would provide $52 billion worth of federal grants for semiconductor manufacturing and research as leaders look to ease a chip shortage and prevent future shortages for both commercial and national defense use.

The bill also includes about $100 billion in authorizations over the course of five years for programs that include expanding the National Science Foundation’s efforts to establish regional technology hubs to support start-up companies in areas of the country that haven’t historically received much tech funding.

The act, a trimmed version of another bill previously passed by the House, cleared a key Senate procedural vote last week setting up Tuesday’s vote to limit further filibuster debate to 30 hours, according to the chambers rules.

The Senate is expected to take a final vote on the bill later this week and, if it passes, will then send it to the House for debate.

Supporters say the bill would reduce American reliance on China and other foreign powers to provide the vital semiconductors which are present in virtually all electronics.

“The Senate just took the next step to move forward on our CHIPS and Science bill,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wrote on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

“We are now one step closer toward: Boosting manufacturing and innovation jobs, enhancing our national security, and lowering costs for the American people!”

Biden called the legislation necessary for both financial and homeland security reasons.

“To be secure that any part we’re putting in a weapons system or a helicopter, or anything we have, that we are assured that no one has been able to tamper with that; that it’s made in America and built in America, stockpiled in America. And I think it’s really important,” he told Lockheed Martin CEO James Taiclet, according to a White House transcript.

During the meeting, Taiclet also said foreign manufacturing of semiconductors leaves the defense industry in a “fragile” state.

Major chip manufacturing companies such as Intel and TSMC have said they are already counting on funds from the bill to finance factory construction in Ohio and Arizona.

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