Nov 29, 2021 - Technology

Commerce Secretary presses for chips funding

Illustration of a man struggling to push a giant semiconductor up a rocky mountain.  

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will call on House lawmakers to pass a bill boosting funding for semiconductor manufacturing during a speech in Detroit on Monday.

Why it matters: A global chip shortage is slowing production of everything from appliances to vehicles. The Senate in June passed a bill that includes $52 billion for domestic semiconductor manufacturing, but the House has yet to act.

Driving the news: Raimondo intends to tout the importance of semiconductors for the auto industry and for broader American innovation in the speech before the Detroit Economic Club, according to excerpts shared with Axios.

  • The average electric vehicle has about 2,000 chips, which Raimondo says is double the average number of chips in a gas-powered vehicle.
  • She will call on the House to pass its version of the CHIPS Act.

What they're saying: "Semiconductors aren’t just essential for building the cars and trucks we need today," Raimondo will say. "They’re essential for driving innovation tomorrow."

Between the lines: The Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, or USICA, by a bipartisan vote of 68-32, but the House has not taken up the bill.

  • This month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a plan to negotiate an agreement to deliver a final bill to the president "as soon as possible."

Reality check: With a limited number of days remaining on the legislative calendar, it's unclear whether the bill will make it to the president this year.

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