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House approves bill to boost computer chip industry

WASHINGTON (AP) – The House on Thursday passed a $280 billion package to boost the semiconductor industry and scientific research in a bid to create more high-tech jobs in the United States and help make it better. to compete with international rivals, namely China.

The House approved the bill by a strong margin of 243-187, sending the measure to President Joe Biden to be signed into law and giving the White House a major victory on domestic policy. About two dozen Republicans voted for the law.

“My request is to put politics aside. Do it,” Biden said before the vote, adding that it would give the US “the ability not only to compete with China for the future, but to lead the world and win economic competition in the 21st century. “

Republicans argued that the government should not spend billions to subsidize the semiconductor industry and the House GOP leadership recommended a vote against the bill, telling members that the plan would provide too many subsidies. and tax credits “in a specific industry that do not require additional government handouts.”

WATCH: The House votes on the bill to boost US chip production

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., said the way to help the industry is through tax cuts and easing federal regulations, “not by picking winners and losers” with subsidies – a method that Rep. Joseph Morelle, DN.Y. , said it was too narrow.

“This affects every industry in the United States,” Morelle said. “Take, for example, General Motors announcing that they have 95,000 cars waiting for chips. So, you want to increase the supply of goods to people and help lower inflation? It’s about increasing the supply of goods throughout the United States in every industry.”

Some Republicans view the passage of the law as important for national security. Rep. Mike McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said it was critical to protect US semiconductor capacity, which he said is too dependent on Taiwan for its most advanced chips. That would be a major vulnerability if China tries to seize the self-ruled island that Beijing views as a breakaway province.

“I have a unique insight into this. I got the classified briefing. Not all members do,” McCaul said. “It’s very important for our national security.”

The bill provides more than $52 billion in grants and other incentives for the semiconductor industry as well as a 25% tax credit for companies investing in US chip plants. more than 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

A late move in the Senate — the advance announced Wednesday night by Democrats on a $739 billion health and climate change package — threatened to make it even harder for those supporters to get the semiconductor bill across the finish line, based on concerns about government spending.

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said he was “disgusted” by the turn of events on Capitol Hill.

Despite bipartisan support for research initiatives, “sadly, and sadder than you might imagine, I’m not going to vote for science chips and action today.”

Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

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