Commerce Secretary Urges Chips Act Passing or U.S. Faces ‘National Emergency’

Separate legislation that fully funds the Chips Act is awaiting House votes.

Commerce Secretary Urges Chips Act Passing or U.S. Faces ‘National Emergency’
Photo of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo via Flickr

WASHINGTON, February 16, 2022 – Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Wednesday that the country is staring down a “national emergency” if it doesn’t get funding approved to begin ramping up manufacturing of semiconductors domestically.

“We are in a dangerous situation and there is one solution: make chips in America, and it’s not going to happen until the CHIPS Act gets passed,” Raimondo told Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman, founders of Punchbowl News, which held the event.

The Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America Act, which has yet to pass either chamber, is set to receive $52 billion from the United States Innovation and Competition Act, which has only passed Senate. The money is expected to entice private companies to invest in technological leadership and semiconductor manufacturing. These technologies are used for artificial intelligence, computer chips and lithium batters for smart devices and electric vehicles.

President Joe Biden has encouraged the House to pass the funding bill to push the ball forward on manufacturing, as the country has faced difficulties with product supplies as Covid-19 has slowed the supply chain. In response to those supply chain concerns, this month the European Union proposed its own Chips Act to “confront semiconductor shortages and strengthen Europe’s technological leadership.”

Over the last 30 years the U.S. has gone from producing nearly 40 percent of the world’s semiconductors to just 12 percent, noted Raimondo during the event. The nation relies largely on Taiwan — home to one of the world’s largest manufacturers, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company – for semiconductors, and Raimondo previously warned that if supply chain problems arise, as they have, China could take the lead on emerging technology.

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