Jul 28, 2022 - Technology

Congress sends chip funding bill to Biden's desk

Illustration of an infinite, recursive tunnel of semiconductor chips.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The House of Representatives voted 243-187 Thursday to pass a $280 billion package for the domestic chip-making industry and scientific research, sending the long-awaited legislation to President Biden's desk.

Why it matters: The bill, approved by the Senate on Wednesday, is meant to boost the manufacturing of essential computer chips on U.S. soil to prevent future supply chain crises and bolster competition with China.

Catch up quick: The Chips and Science Act provides $52.7 billion in funding for semiconductor production and authorizes another $200 billion for scientific research, including a technology directorate at the National Science Foundation meant to translate basic research into commercial products.

The intrigue: Several House Republicans opposed the bill after it received bipartisan support in the Senate. 24 Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the bill and one member voted "present."

  • A surprise deal between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on a reconciliation package of climate change and prescription drug reform measures prompted Republican outcry and in turn. many of the bill's supporters voted against its passage.
  • Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), the ranking member of the House Science Committee who worked on the chips bill, said "regrettably" he could not support it.
  • "I cannot ignore the fact that the immense tax hikes and irresponsible spending in the expanded reconciliation package change the calculus when it comes to supporting spending bills, particularly a bill that has come to be tied to reconciliation," Lucas said in a speech.

The other side: "This is not the reconciliation bill," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said. "This is about America."

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