Fri, 18 Jun 2021

WASHINGTON D.C.: In response to the shortage of semiconductor chips, which has temporarily closed some U.S. auto plants, news reports late last week said the U.S. Senate was developing a $52 billion proposal to boost U.S. semiconductor research and chip production.

U.S. Senators Mark Kelly, John Cornyn, Mark Warner and Tom Cotton have been negotiating the proposed bill.

If it goes as planned, the chip funding package could be included in a bill the Senate will take up this week, which will include more than $110 billion in basic U.S. and advanced technology research to compete with China.

Democratic Leader Senator Chuck Schumer has said the bill would "invest in the American semiconductor industry, ensure that China pays a price for its predatory actions, and boosts advanced manufacturing, innovation, and critical supply chains."

President Joe Biden earlier proposed spending $50 billion to increase semiconductor production and research.

Supporters of the bill note that the U.S. manufactured 37 percent of all semiconductors and microelectronics in 1990, while that share has fallen to its current 12 percent.

"There is an urgent need for our economic and national security to provide funding to swiftly implement these critical programs. The Chinese Communist Party is aggressively investing over $150 billion in semiconductor manufacturing so they can control this key technology," a summary of the bill noted.

The measure would "support the rapid implementation of the semiconductor provisions" in the defense bill.

The draft is said to include $39 billion in production and R&D incentives and $10.5 billion to develop the National Semiconductor Technology Center, National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program, and other R&D programs.

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