Friday’s House vote approved a bill that Democrats believe will boost American semiconductor manufacturing and American competitiveness against China.
The America Competes Act was passed 222 to 210, mostly along party lines.
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Speaker, stated that the bill would ensure America’s supremacy in manufacturing, innovation, and economic strength, and could outcompete any other nation.
There are many provisions in the bill, including $52 Billion to make chips and $45 Billion to improve supply chains for critical products. $160 billion is available for scientific research and innovation.
Eddie Bernice Johnson, Chair of the House Science Committee, stated to NPR that a significant federal infusion in research was urgently needed — particularly to help the U.S. compete with China.
“We just have to compete. We have to feel that we are a step ahead. Johnson said that this is a huge goal. Johnson said that our society is quite different in terms of freedom and communism.
Johnson stated that the legislation was also intended to develop talent in the U.S., and foster innovations in government labs that private businesses could use for future products. The bill’s research pieces, which have been in development for years, featured input from scientists, academic experts, and private industry. NPR reported that Daniel Webster, a Florida Republican Congressman, said he supported the research agenda but felt the House bill placed too much effort at the federal level.
“We are trying to get less government and more open-minded private sector. They are basically trying to get a program that is government-funded to determine all the happenings. He said that they were not going to pursue this.
Many House Republicans supported their vote against the bill, arguing that it didn’t do enough to counter China and is loaded with other priorities such as clean energy. This would also worsen inflation.
The House will respond to the $250 billion bipartisan U.S. competition bill. The Senate passed the Innovation and Competition Act last June.
Both chambers will work together for the next few weeks to iron out differences and send the bill to President Biden.
The Senate bill has $50 billion more for chip manufacturing than the Senate bill, but it takes a different approach to how the estimated $250 billion it has allocated for scientific research should be spent.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was instrumental in brokering the bipartisan agreement in the Senate that garnered support from 19 Republicans. He downplayed differences between the bills.
He said, “The framework they established and the one we created are not that different.” “I believe that all gaps can be bridged.”
Schumer stated that investments in American manufacturing are long overdue. The bill’s supporters admitted, however, that it may take time for the federal investments to have an impact.