On Wednesday, the Senate voted 64-33 to approve a $280 billion bill that subsidizes the domestic chip manufacturing industry, while investing a chunk of it in scientific research.
Why it matters: This “Chips and Science” bill aims to alleviate the pandemic-driven chip shortage that has impacted the supply of everything from cars to video games.
Details: Per Reuters, about $52 billion will be provided in government subsidies for semiconductor production, $24 for an investment tax credit on chip plants and more than $170 billion for research to compete with China.
What they’re saying: “We all knew that America faced a choice: we could keep underfunding science and innovation — and continue to let America fall behind our global competitors — or we could wake up to the challenges of this century, and empower the American people to unleash the next wave of discovery and scientific achievement,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in a press release.
“We knew that if we didn’t get there first, our rivals — chief among them the Chinese Communist Party — would likely beat us to the punch and reshape the world in their authoritarian image,” he added.
“Let us build back the U.S. microchip industry,” Sanders said before the vote, per CNBC, “but let us do it in a way that benefits all of our society, not just a handful of wealthy profitable corporations.”
What’s next: The House is expected to vote on it later this week, placing the bill in front of Biden who will sign it into law.