Congress passes bill boosting U.S. semiconductor production

The final vote was 243 to 187 with a Democrat, Representative Sara Jacobs of California, whose family founded telecommunications company Qualcomm, voting in attendance. Twenty-four Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the bill, despite the fact that House GOP leaders opposed the package.

The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday with broad bipartisan support, meaning it now falls to President Joe Biden to sign into law.

The vote was tighter than originally expected. Following Senate Democrats’ announcement of an agreement Wednesday night for a separate economic package, Republican sources told CNN that House GOP leaders will oppose semiconductor legislation, reversing their previous position.

The legislation aims to address a shortage of semiconductor chips and make the United States less dependent on other countries such as China for manufacturing. Proponents say the measure is important not only for American technological innovation, but also for national security.

Democratic leaders feared some progressives would oppose the bill, following opposition from independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Wednesday that she hadn’t whipped her members over the legislation, but pointed to discussions with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who served as the chief advocate for the Biden administration for the package, as a sign that progressives are likely to back him. Raimondo again met with members of the Progressive Caucus just hours before the vote.

Ultimately, Progressives joined the rest of the party in supporting the bill.

The semiconductor bill establishes incentives for domestic semiconductor manufacturing as well as research and development and includes more than $50 billion in funding for this purpose.

The legislation also includes a number of provisions aimed at bolstering scientific research, including authorizing billions of dollars for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

This story and headline were updated with additional developments on Thursday.

CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to clarify the relationship between Rep. Sara Jacobs and Qualcomm. His family founded the telecommunications company, which is now publicly traded.


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