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Congress approves bill to boost US production of computer chips; Sullivan votes no.

moonrise over the Capitol, with dome at left and purple sky.
Moonrise over the US Capitol on October 18, 2021. (Brett Davis)

Congress on Thursday passed a $280 billion bill to subsidize domestic production of computer chips and invest in science and technology innovation.

The only vote in Alaska on the bill was that of US Sen. Dan Sullivan. He voted no. His office said he was not available this week for an interview on the subject.

Computer chips are used in everything from cell phones and cars to airplanes and weapons systems.

In a recent speech on the Senate floor, Sullivan said the bill discriminates against Alaska Native corporations. The 1,054-page semiconductor bill describes roles for tribal governments and tribal colleges. It does not specifically address Alaska Native corporations.

Senator Lisa Murkowski was absent for the vote. He recently tested positive for COVID and is isolating in Alaska this week. He released a statement saying he would vote yes.

“This legislation is timely and critical in addressing one of the biggest supply chain issues we’ve seen throughout the COVID pandemic,” his statement said. “By providing incentives and investments to increase domestic protection, we are taking necessary steps to boost US economic growth, prevent future supply shocks and price increases, and protect national security. “

The Senate vote was 64-33.

In the House, the bill also passed with bipartisan support. Alaska has been without a representative there since the death of Congressman Don Young in March.

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