U.S. Senate ADVANCES It – Major Vote Held!
(RepublicanPress.org) – Heading into the upcoming midterm elections, Congress remains bitterly divided along partisan lines on most issues confronting the nation. However, when it comes to China policy, the two sides have managed to find some common ground, beginning the former President Donald Trump’s push to impose trade sanctions on the communist country. Most recently, the US Senate advanced a bipartisan chip production bill to boost semiconductor chip manufacturing.
Senate Advances CHIPS Plus Bill
On Tuesday, July 19, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) held a procedural vote in the chamber on a measure dubbed CHIPS Plus. The bill passed by a 64 to 34 margin, even though the final details of the law haven’t been worked out yet.
Schumer hopes to push a final version of the measure through the Senate in time for the House to take up the bill before both chambers depart Washington for their August recess.
The measure is a stripped-down version of a bill introduced by Schumer called the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) in April 2021. The act passed in the Senate in June 2021, and the House passed its own version of the bill. However, the two chambers could not reconcile the differences between their versions.
The USICA included funding for early-stage research in behavioral health, precision agriculture, water systems, and other sectors. It also provided support to the development of domestic chip manufacturing.
CHIP Plus Sparks Tech Stock Rally
Fifty-two billion dollars in subsidies to encourage American companies to increase domestic semiconductor chip manufacturing sits at the center of the bill.
CNBC reported that US chips stock rallied ahead of the Senate’s procedural vote. Intel stock increased by 3.9%, Nvidia 5.5%, and Texas Instruments raised by 3.1%. Likewise, the S&P 500 rallied by nearly 3%.
Republicans Push Back Against the USICA in 2022
Republican senators initially pushed back against revisiting the USICA in 2022, citing its provision of funding for climate change research and job creation. According to GOP lawmakers, the measure strayed too far from its original intent of helping US manufacturers compete with China.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he wasn’t ready to support the watered-down version of the USICA until Republicans and Democrats worked out their differences and drafted the CHIP Plus’ legislative text. But, he did say that spending money on technology and research would be vital to protecting US interests moving forward.
Additionally, McConnell said in a Tweet that he wouldn’t support the measure’s passage while Democrats pressed their so-called “partisan reconciliation bill.” But, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) changed that calculus when he effectively killed the measure on July 15.
On July 20, Roll Call reported that key Republicans like National Republican Senate Committee Chair Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) expect the Senate to pass the bill’s final “trimmed-down” version before the end of July.
President Joe Biden is expected to sign the measure if it reaches his desk.
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