Chip shortage bill passes Senate but will House pass it?


By now, you’ve likely heard that the world is facing a possibly long-term shortage of chips for everything from cars to smartphones. The shortage is one of the many reasons it’s so difficult to buy gaming consoles, graphics cards, and other manners of electronics.

Related: The global computer chip shortage explained: What it means for you and your tech

When the industry first recognized the chip shortage, United States President Joe Biden came forth quickly to express his support in providing funding to help alleviate the problem. Now, the United States Senate has taken a big step towards that goal. It just passed an aggressive bill that would pour billions into funding for US-based manufacturers to help combat the industry’s ever-growing reliance on China (via Bloomberg).

The bill passed with overwhelming support in the Senate at a 68-32 vote. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bill is likely to “go down as one of the most important things [the Senate] has done in a very long time.”

However, now the bill faces the House of Representatives, where its future is less certain.

Chip shortage bill faces the House, angers China

Leaders in the United States House of Representatives haven’t made any public declarations about the bill. That doesn’t mean they won’t support it, but it does paint some doubt on whether or not it will pass.

For what it’s worth, Schumer has faith that the House will get it through with some amendments. After speaking with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Science Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson about the bill, he’s confident that the Senate bill is close to what the House has been working on for itself.

“It’s in President Biden’s agenda and I’m quite certain that we will get a really good product on the president’s desk,” Schumer said.

The bill itself provides $190 billion in spending. Most of that would go towards increased R&D at universities and similar institutions. An additional $52 billion would go to domestic manufacturers to help expand production.

The Senate hopes the bill would give a jump-start to the semiconductor industry here in the US. One of the problems that have led to this global chip shortage is a lack of funding for domestic development, which has allowed China to essentially dominate the industry.

The chip industry has responded positively to the bill, but China’s response has been quite negative. China urged the US to “immediately stop” progress on the bill, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. It said the bill “smears China’s development path and domestic and foreign policies and interferes in China’s internal affairs under the banner of innovation and competition.”

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