WASHINGTON — A bill to encourage more semiconductor companies to build chip factories in the United States passed the Senate on Wednesday as lawmakers rushed to finish work on a key government priority. Biden administration.
The $280 billion measure, which awaits a House vote, includes federal grants and tax breaks for companies that build their chip facilities in the United States. The legislation also directs Congress to dramatically increase spending on high-tech research programs that lawmakers say will help the country remain economically competitive for decades to come.
Passage to the Senate came by a vote of 64-33. The House vote is expected later this week as lawmakers try to wrap up their business before returning to their home states and districts in August.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said she was confident there was enough GOP support to overcome potential defections from Democrats who view the grant effort to spur semi-corporate businesses. -drivers as a misplaced priority.
Seventeen Republicans voted for the measure. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., broke ranks with Democrats by voting against the bill.
Proponents of the legislation say other countries are spending billions of dollars to lure chipmakers. Donors say the United States must follow suit or risk losing a secure supply of semiconductors that power automobiles, computers, appliances and some of the military’s most advanced weapons systems.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., said the bill represents one of the nation’s largest investments in science and manufacturing in decades and that with the approval of the Senate, “We say America’s best years are yet to come.”
Opponents criticized the price of the bill. It is expected to increase federal deficits by about $79 billion over 10 years.
President Joe Biden said the bill would create jobs and cut costs for a wide range of products, from cars to dishwashers.
“For decades some ‘experts’ have said we have to ditch manufacturing in America. I never believed that. Manufacturing jobs are back,” Biden said. “Thanks to this bill, we will have even more. The House should pass it quickly and send this bill to my office.