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Senate eyes votes on computer chip bill that drastically slims U.S.-China competition plans


But Thursday’s move means that while the Biden administration blitzes Capitol Hill pushing for standalone legislation to improve chip production, much of China’s larger competition package paired with chip funding is likely to be. finish on the cutting floor.

The White House has urged lawmakers to reject broader China-focused legislation and move to money in chips to address national security and supply chain concerns.

“It’s sad. This is a chips bill, which is very important, but it is not a strategic law in China, ”said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez (DN.J.), whose panel made a major policy section on China in law. .

There is no guarantee that enough Republicans will vote to break a filibuster of abbreviated legislation, especially with much uncertainty as to what other provisions might be added.

“Now we’re at the point where I don’t think anyone knows what the final bill will look like, or where the votes will be,” said Senate Minority Whip John Thune (RS.D.). “We knew where the votes were last time. But that was a different time and this bill is different than what we’re talking about now.”

Menendez blamed McConnell for the end result, pointing to the GOP leader’s threat to derail China’s larger competition package if Democrats move forward with different plans to pass a tax line. at the party and climate package. But McConnell – who later proposed to dismantle part of the chips fund and pass it as a standalone – wasn’t the only factor holding back the broader bill, which also fell into a cross -Capitol impasse.

For the best part of three months, the House and Senate have tried unsuccessfully to resolve differences in their respective Chinese competition fees. As a result, Capitol Hill is increasingly convinced that Congress should simply pass the chips fund as a standalone bill before August, due to the urgent desire to boost domestic production.

“The question is, what do we have to go through the closing window that is here before the August recess? And that seems like a kind of ‘chips-plus,’ “said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the leading promoter of chips-plus provisions.” The ‘plus’ has not been determined. “

Other add-ons to semiconductor funding could be included if lawmakers reach an agreement on time, according to someone familiar with the Senate’s plans.

Differences in how Beijing’s trade policy is handled – in particular, the legacy of former President Donald Trump’s tariffs – is a key point in continuing discussions between the House and Senate that are continuing the final passage of the the moon. If lawmakers from the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee disagree on such provisions, they are likely to be removed from the final bill.

“It’s not always easy to reconcile differences between the House and Senate,” Sen. complained. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), A leading member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

A potential add-on that would have a better chance of surviving any final “chips-plus” deal would be an amendment to demand more government screening of U.S. investments in China. . Cornyn and other lawmakers on both parties worked for months with the administration to refine the part, which was included in the House version of the bill but removed from the Senate incarnation.

The White House this week reiterated its support for the effort, and lawmakers could include a screening provision in the final bill even if other China -related trade provisions are not included.

As tensions continue between the two chambers, some lawmakers have called on the House to simply pass China’s competition bill approved by the Senate – which now appears to be impossible.

The Biden administration entered this week with classified briefings for all senators and members of the House, where they urged the speedy passage of the chips fund.

Many weak House Democrats have long hoped to point to funding chips as evidence that they and the Biden administration are responding to inflation and supply-chain crunches ahead of the midterm elections in November.

On Wednesday, a member of the frontline, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), criticized the leadership of his party due to the lack of a strategy for passing the chips bill. “A briefing is not a plan,” he said. “Get a plan.”

Jordan Carney contributed to this report.



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