Democrats Seek A Path Through The House Of Competitiveness, Chip Bill
House Democrats are maneuvering to quickly pass legislation to strengthen the semiconductor industry and support U.S. innovation by adding parts of a Senate bill passed this week to an existing House measure , aiming to counter the economic challenge of China.
As part of the envisioned strategy, the House science committee would change a measure it is expected to start working on next week to include elements of the $ 250 billion package that cleared the Senate in a majority bipartisan vote. , according to two people close to the negotiations.
The goal is to get a version of the legislation passed by August, an outcome that would give President Joe Biden a major bipartisan victory. The Senate measure provides $ 52 billion in funding to boost US production of computer chips after a shortage that has slowed production in the auto sector and other industries.
The measure will not include some of the provisions aimed directly at China, including restrictions on research money for universities, which Senate Republicans have demanded and which Progressive Democrats oppose, one said. people.
Several other House panels, including the Foreign Affairs Committee, are working on related elements that should probably be incorporated.
Still, eventual House legislation is expected to emerge close enough to the Senate bill to allow them to be reconciled by a House-Senate conference committee, the person said. While this would remove some elements of the Senate bill introduced during a month of debate, the goal is to come up with an end product that would satisfy Democrats without losing too many Republican votes.
Earlier: Senate passes sweeping bill to help US compete with China
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not publicly committed on a timeline, and a House official said the chamber will develop its own version of the legislation through various committees.
However, the White House has made it clear that it wants a final bill quickly.
“President Biden strongly supports US innovation and competition law,” White House spokesman Michael Gwin said, referring to the title of Senate legislation. Biden and administration officials “will remain in close contact with House and Senate leaders on the way forward, including while the president is in Europe. He looks forward to signing the bill as soon as possible.
The House Science Space and Technology Committee is expected to start work on Tuesday on two pieces of legislation related to boosting U.S. innovation, including one sponsored by President Eddie Bernice Johnson to boost research through the National Science Foundation. She criticized part of the Senate’s approach.
“I remain concerned that the Senate proposal, which focuses on technological development, goes too far in the direction of imposing a new mission ill-suited to the NSF,” she said in a statement Thursday. “However, I think we can come together to chart a good course for the NSF, and I hope we will have the opportunity to do so at a Chamber-Senate conference.
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who sponsored the original Senate bill with Republican Senator from Indiana Todd Young, known as Endless Frontiers, lobbied the House to act. California Democrat Ro Khanna and Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher presented the House version of Schumer’s original measure.
“We will work with President Pelosi and the chairs of the relevant committees in the House to move this bill forward as quickly as possible,” Schumer told the Senate Thursday. “It is vital to the future of our nation that the House and Senate come together to send President Biden a bill that he can sign into law.”
Other senators urged Biden to lean on House Democrats.
Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who helped defend a $ 52 billion provision to bolster domestic semiconductor manufacturing, said he hoped the Biden administration “will make it clear to its allies in the House how important this is “.
A White House official said the administration has briefed House leaders on its priorities, including provisions on supply chain resilience, regional technology hubs and research and development.
The legislation would tick off two priorities that enjoy bipartisan support: accelerating research and development in the United States to compete with China, and strengthening the supply chain for the semiconductor chips needed for everything from cars to large electronics. public.
As Biden’s talks with Republicans over his infrastructure proposal drag on, competitiveness legislation offers the possibility of a major bipartisan bill ahead of the 2022 midterm election. After the turbulence of years Trump, Biden and the Democrats, who control both houses of Congress, seek to demonstrate to voters that they can keep their promises.
– With the help of Jenny Leonard