President Joe Biden asked Congress to increase U.S. semiconductor R&D and manufacturing to counter China’s ambitions to dominate the world in sophisticated technology.
That’s because bipartisanship, voting rights, and filibuster reform are all in jeopardy, owing to the small Democrat-led majority in Congress.
According to the White House, semiconductors are vital components of everything from vehicles to cellphones to defense systems. They are vital in what Biden calls the “21st-century competition.”
China is investing billions to catch up with the world’s most advanced semiconductor makers. Scarcity around the world and geopolitical tensions with China have increased scrutiny on the supply chain.
The US Enterprise and Competition Act authorizes $52 billion for semiconductor manufacturing and another $190 billion for technology and research.
The bill cleared the Senate 68-32 in June, but is stuck in the House, due to its limited route. Among the concerns is distributing funds to institutions and national labs, particularly to states with fewer representatives.
Despite strong bipartisan support, the White House has been slow to act.
Sinema and Manchin vote with Republicans to keep filibuster, a BIG defeat for Bidenhttps://t.co/9IcI9e2ZVi
— RSBN 🇺🇸 (@RSBNetwork) January 20, 2022
“We will mark everything ‘Made in America,’ particularly these electronic chips,” Biden declared Friday at the White House. “Bring the manufacturing Midwest back,” he said.
Industrialism and Innovation
The bill’s supporters included Democrat Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who faces heavy opposition in this year’s re-election run.
Like Biden, she linked China’s goals to diminished possibilities at home; her retorts on national security and supply chain issues have enraged Chinese officials.
According to Brian Stryker of Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, Democrats lose ground to Republicans on China and economic rivalry.
In the absence of a competitiveness measure, Stryker told Bloomberg, “we would have created our crisis in China. I think not having a position on China and supply chain concerns will cost Democrats at the polls.”
Stryker, whose company worked for Biden in 2020, did not respond to a request for comment. On Friday, Biden specifically appealed to industrial voters.
According to the White House, the country’s worldwide semiconductor output has fallen from 37% to 12%.
For three decades, America has lost semiconductor manufacturing to countries like China – but we’re changing that. We’re investing in American workers and building the future here in America. https://t.co/q5RCUUsJdJ
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 21, 2022
The shortages have slowed output and raised consumer costs for months. The rise in automotive costs is credited with one-third of the rise in the core consumer price index.
A senior administration official said the government has spoken with various congressional leaders, seeking common ground and pushing for movement in the House. It expects to present a measure before the conclusion of January.
The White House compared the supply chain legislation’s appeal to Biden’s infrastructure measure.
“President Biden encourages Congress to swiftly pass legislation bolstering our distribution networks and bringing additional manufacturing back to America,” said White House Rapid Response Manager Mike Gwin.
“The goal is to outpace China and the rest of the globe, while creating employment in America. With unprecedented investments in our highways, bridges, harbors, and more, it would build on President Biden’s first year of making us better and more competitive.”