Senate plans to vote on computer chip bill that drastically cuts U.S.-China competition plans

Schumer’s move comes as the Biden administration attacks Capitol Hill, pushing for stand-alone legislation to boost computer chip production. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, in particular, urged lawmakers to abandon the broader China-focused legislation that chip funding had been associated with and act only on the chip part to address national security concerns. and supply chain – a point she reiterated after a briefing for House lawmakers on Thursday.

“If we don’t pass this, we’re going to wake up, other countries are going to have these [chip] investments, and we’re going to say, “why didn’t we do it?” Raimondo said, urging lawmakers to pass the funding next week.

“We want as strong a bill as possible,” she said, but added, “all options are on the table because we’re out of time.”

Moving forward with chip funding next week means much of the biggest set of competitions in China will likely end up on the cutting room floor. And some lawmakers were already lamenting that months of work focused on the trade relationship with Beijing could be wasted.

“It will be unfortunate. It will be a chip bill, which is critically important, but it will not be a China strategy bill,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (DN .J.), whose panel drafted a major section of legislation on China politics. .

There’s no guarantee that enough Republicans will vote to smash a filibuster on the watered-down legislation, especially with so much uncertainty about what other provisions might be added.

“Now we’re at a point where I don’t think anyone really knows what the final bill might look like, or sort of where the votes are,” said Senate Minority Whip John Thune ( RS.D.). “We know where the votes were last time. But that was a different time and it was a different bill than what we are talking about today.

Menendez blamed McConnell for the end result, pointing to the GOP leader’s threat to derail China’s broader competition package if Democrats go ahead with separate plans to pass a tax and climate package in line with the party. But McConnell – who later suggested severing the chip funding portion and passing it off as a standalone project – wasn’t the only factor standing in the way of the broader bill, which also got mired in a inter-capitol stalemate.

For nearly three months, the House and Senate tried unsuccessfully to iron out differences in their respective China competition bills. As a result, there was a growing belief on Capitol Hill that Congress should simply pass the chip funding as a standalone bill before August, given the urgent desire to boost domestic production.

“The question is, what can we get through in the shutdown window that we have here before the August break? And that seems like kind of a ‘chips-plus,'” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas ), the main sponsor of the chip provisions in the larger bill. “The ‘plus’ is undefined.”

Other semiconductor funding additions could be included if lawmakers reach an agreement in time, the person familiar with the Senate plans said.

Differences in how to handle trade policy with Beijing — particularly former President Donald Trump’s legacy of tariffs — had been a key sticking point in House-Senate talks that delayed the final passage for months. If lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee fail to reach an agreement on these provisions, they will likely be deleted from the final bill.

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

A potential addition with a better chance of surviving in any final “chips-plus” deal is an amendment to demand stronger government oversight of U.S. investment in China. Cornyn and other lawmakers from both parties worked for months with the administration to refine that part, which was included in the House version of the bill but deleted from the Senate incarnation.

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

As the deadlock between the two chambers persisted, some lawmakers were calling on the House to simply pass the Senate-approved China competition bill — which now seems unlikely.

The Biden administration stepped in this week with classified briefings for all senators and House members, during which they urged the rapid passage of chip funding.

Many vulnerable Democrats in the House had long hoped that the chip funding was proof that they and the Biden administration were responding to inflation and supply chain crises ahead of the midterm elections in november.

On Wednesday, frontline member Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), criticized the leadership of his party for lacking a strategy to get the flea bill passed. “A briefing is not a plan,” she said. “Get a plan.”

Jordan Carney contributed to this report.

#Senate #plans #vote #computer #chip #bill #drastically #cuts #U.S.China #competition #plans

Add Comment