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US House of Reps. pushes bill to reverse chip shortages, improve competition with China

The U.S. House of Representatives introduced on Tuesday, Jan. 25, a bill aimed at improving the U.S. competitive position vis-à-vis China, addressing the shortage of semiconductor chips and supporting their U.S. manufacturing, The Hill reported

The proposal includes a planned $52 billion investment to subsidize U.S. manufacturing of the chips. It would also authorize another $45 billion in grants, loans and loan guarantees through the Commerce Department to upgrade industry facilities and increase manufacturing capacity.

The House bill called the “America COMPETES Act” follows a similar one introduced last year by the U.S. Senate in which 18 Republican senators joined all Democrats in passing it. 

Shortages in the United States of critical components used in cars, computers, and other electronic devices have created a complex situation in global supply chains. As a result, the prices of many goods and services have soared, so President Biden’s administration is pushing for congressional approval of funding to boost chip production in the country.

Along those lines, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo also urged Congress to intervene urgently, warning of the impact this is having on U.S. inflation.

“Auto prices drove a third of inflation, and why? Simply because we don’t have enough chips,” Raimondo said. “Congress must act,” she added. 

On the new legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.), said in a statement, as noted by NCBS, “Today, the House takes action to transport our nation into the future, with the America COMPETES Act: bold, results-oriented legislation that will strengthen America’s national and economic security and the financial security of families, and advance our leadership in the world.” 

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, lead sponsor of the bill, said in a statement Tuesday, “The introduction of the vital America COMPETES Act of 2022 in the House is an important step forward to setting up a conference with the Senate-passed U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, so we can quickly negotiate a final bill for the president to sign into law.”

As indicated by the media outlet, the legislation would further provide for actions to exert diplomatic pressure on China for its human rights abuses. They would include imposing sanctions granting temporary protection or refugee status to individuals persecuted by the Chinese regime, whether Hong Kongers or ethnic and religious minorities, who are victims of abuses in China.

According to The Hill, the House is out of session this week, so it is unclear when it will review the bill for a vote.

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