NATIONAL NEWS

Congress seeks compromise to boost computer chip industry

Apr 18, 2022, 12:23 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:35 pm

FILE (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)...

FILE (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

(Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A global computer chip shortage has made it harder for consumers to get their hands on cars, computers and other modern-day necessities, so Congress is looking to boost chip manufacturing and research in the United States with billions of dollars from the federal government.

Both the House and the Senate have passed major legislation on the matter, and the effort is one of lawmakers’ final opportunities before the November elections to show voters they are addressing the nation’s strained supply chains.

Now they have to work out considerable differences in the two bills. And Senate Republicans are already digging in before the negotiations formally begin.

President Joe Biden has made the semiconductor legislation a top priority, but he’ll need the support of 10 Senate Republicans, and perhaps more, to get a bill to his desk. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell emphasized that point when congressional leaders recently announced which lawmakers will serve on the committee that works to reconcile the two bills.

“Without major concessions and changes from House Democrats, this legislation has no chance of becoming law,” McConnell said.

House Democrats say their voices need to be heard during negotiations.

“We need to make sure that everyone has input,” said Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., chair of the New Democratic Coalition, a group that has 19 members participating in negotiations. “We have a strong bill in the House, and I think there’s important components there that the Senate should also consider.”

The Senate bill is projected to increase spending by about $250 billion over 10 years. The House bill would boost spending by more than $400 billion over the period.

WHERE THERE IS MUCH AGREEMENT

The Senate and House bills allot more than $52 billion for semiconductor production and research. Grants and loans from the federal government would subsidize some of the cost of building or renovating semiconductor plants.

“The chips funding is absolutely the foundation of this bill — it’s a bipartisan foundation,” said Josh Teitelbaum, senior counsel at Akin Gump, a law and lobbying firm. “I think it is what is driving this toward the finish line.”

SOME OVERLAP, BUT KEY DIFFERENCES

Both bills authorize a big boost in spending for the National Science Foundation, but they have different priorities for the research receiving funding.

The Senate bill provides $29 billion over five years to a new directorate focused on strengthening U.S. leadership in artificial intelligence, semiconductors, robotics and other cutting-edge technologies.

The House bill provides $13.3 billion over five years to a new directorate for science and engineering solutions. It lists climate change, environmental sustainability and social and economic inequality as part of the directorate’s focus.

The two sides will have to hammer out their competing visions for the National Science Foundation and the new tech directorate.

The two bills also establish regional technology hubs — with the Senate dedicating $10 billion to the program and the House dedicating $7 billion. The Senate bill calls for 20 such hubs, while the House bill authorizes at least 10.

The seed money would go to regional organizations seeking to advance a variety of economic and national security priorities.

The approach has bipartisan support from lawmakers with big rural and minority constituencies who want to ensure the money is not concentrated in universities or communities where a lot of tech research is already done.

WHERE THERE ARE MAJOR DIFFERENCES

The bills diverge on supply chain issues, trade, immigration and climate change, to name a few areas of disagreement.

One of the big-ticket items is a $45 billion program in the House bill to enhance supply chains in the U.S. There was no such provision in the Senate bill. The money would provide grants, loans or loan guarantees to companies, local governments and tribes trying to build or relocate manufacturing plants producing critical goods.

“This is a real area of focus for companies and for communities who want to try to bring back manufacturing,” Teitelbaum said. “There’s a lot of interest in including this funding in the final package.”

Another stark difference is on trade. The House reauthorizes a program that provides training and financial assistance for those who lose their jobs or have their hours cut because of increased imports. The Senate has no such provision.

“It’s not going to move without trade adjustment assistance,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said of the bill.

Meanwhile, the Senate bill includes a trade provision that would exclude more products from tariffs the Trump administration put in place on goods imported from China. Those exclusions have almost all expired. The Senate bill reinstates them, a priority of business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The House bill addresses immigration, while the Senate bill does not. It would create a new visa category for entrepreneurs and would allow those with an ownership interest in successful ventures to apply to become lawful permanent residents.

The House bill, unlike the Senate bill, also touches on climate change. It dedicates $8 billion to a fund that helps developing countries adjust to climate change. That could be a nonstarter for Republicans, who object to using U.S. taxpayer money for that purpose.

No one expects the negotiations to be easy.

“I have a hard time explaining to my friends and constituents,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, “that when the White House is in favor of something, when Democrats are in favor of something, Republicans are in favor of something, the House is in favor of it, and the Senate is in favor of it, we still can’t seem to get it done. But I hope that we will take advantage of this opportunity.”

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Boeing fuselages leave the supply line for further construction....

Chris Isidore and Gregory Wallace, CNN

Boeing wants to buy back the company that builds the body of its troubled Max planes

Boeing said it is in talks to buy Spirit AeroSystems, a major supplier that was part of Boeing until a 2005 sale and one that was also involved in an Alaska Airlines mid-air door plug blowout.

1 hour ago

A killer whale known as Starboard preys on a great white shark in June off the South African coast,...

 Katie Hunt, CNN

A lone orca slayed a great white in less than two minutes. Scientists say it could signal an ecological shift

A pair of orcas have been killing great whites along a stretch of South African coastline.

2 hours ago

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, listens as his attorne...

Farnoush Amiri and Lisa Mascaro, Associated Press

Takeaways from Hunter Biden’s combative deposition with Republican lawmakers

The transcript of the congressional deposition of Hunter Biden has been released. It reveals the contentious testimony that took place Wednesday as Republicans scrambled to advance an impeachment inquiry on the brink of collapse.

2 hours ago

FILE - Kristlyn Wood, a cousin of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham, reacts during a vigil in Cunningha...

Associated Press

Family, advocates want solution to legal loophole after killing of 11-year-old Texas girl

As mourners prepare for the funeral of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham, who was killed near Houston, the community wants answers about how the suspect in her death was allowed to remain free despite a long criminal history of violence.

3 hours ago

Damage to a property burned by the Smokehouse Creek Fire is seen Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, in Canad...

Associated Press

Gov. Abbott says Texas wildfires may have destroyed up to 500 structures

Wildfires have destroyed as many as 500 structures in the Texas Panhandle, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday, describing how the largest blaze in state history scorched everything in its path, leaving ashes in its wake.

4 hours ago

FILE - Activists mark the first anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Wom...

Associated Press

Report: About as many abortions are happening in the US monthly as before Roe was overturned

The number of abortions performed each month is about the same as before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the nationwide right to abortion more than a year and a half ago, a new report finds.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Congress seeks compromise to boost computer chip industry