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The Senate Wednesday passed a bill aimed at increasing U.S. competition with China by a 64-33 vote, sending the $250 billion measure to the House of Representatives.
The bill, officially called the CHIPS Act of 2022, cleared a 60-vote cloture hurdle Tuesday, setting it on course to easily pass Wednesday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said she plans to take up the bill quickly and send it to President Biden’s desk.
“It’s been a long journey to get to this point, but history will show that by passing this CHIPS-Plus bill, we are confronting the challenges of today and building a prosperous and secure tomorrow for all Americans,” Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., said on the Senate floor Wednesday.
Young was one of the top Republican boosters of legislation aimed at competing with China, backing various iterations of the bill since early last year.
The bill also includes money to fund semiconductor chip manufacturing in the U.S., as well as other measures on funding for research and development, protection of intellectual property and more.
Some Republicans – plus Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. – argue, however, that the bill amounts to little more than corporate welfare. Semiconductor chip manufacturers lobbied hard for the bill, and stand to benefit significantly from its funding for the industry.
House conservatives also argue the price tag of the bill is far too high at a time when Americans are struggling with high prices. They’re expected to put up a fight against the bill, but are unlikely to be able to stop it.
“The latest version of Chuck Schumer’s fake China bill would boost inflation and despite Democrat’s claims, much of those taxpayer dollars will end up funding semiconductor factories in communist China, not at home,” Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., told Fox News Digital last week.
But Democrat and Republican boosters of the bill say that the moment of U.S. competition with China is too big not to do something. And they tout the expected economic benefits, especially for Americans in states where chip manufacturers like Intel plan to build new plants.
“A bipartisan bill, supporting R&D for semiconductor chip manufacturing, is essential to securing vital technologies for our economy and military,” former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Tuesday. “We must be strategic in our approach to this critical technology — our adversaries certainly are.”
“This bill will create thousands of jobs across the country and has strong guardrails in place to ensure the funds go directly towards opening factories in the U.S, not stock buybacks or payments of dividends,” Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., told Fox News Digital last week.