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House leaders unveil bill to bolster U.S. chip makers, compete with China

House leaders unveil bill to bolster U.S. chip makers, compete with China
Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday unveiled a bill to increase domestic production of semiconductors and improve the nation's ability to compete with China. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Democratic leaders of the House of Representatives on Tuesday unveiled a bill aimed at bolstering U.S. chip manufacturing and improving the nation's ability to compete against China.

Called the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength Act of 2022 -- or America COMPETES for short -- the bill includes $52 billion for the U.S. semiconductor industry and another $45 billion to improve the supply chain to produce goods domestically in order to prevent shortages.

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On China, the bill increases State Department staff and resources devoted to the Indo-Pacific region where rising tensions have been blamed on Beijing's aggression.

It also calls for the creation of a plan to improve U.S. relations in the region as well as protections for Uighur refugees and Hong Kongers and authorizes $225 million over five years for international military education and training.

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Concerning Taiwan, the bill seeks to improve the United States' relationship with the island and to view it "as a vital part" of the U.S. Indo-Pacific foreign policy.

The Biden administration has sought to improve domestic production of chips amid an ongoing shortage, and the Commerce Department on Tuesday released a report stating "the semiconductor supply chain remains fragile" and that "[d]emand continues to far outstrip supply."

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The White House on Tuesday said the bill "will make our supply chains stronger and reinvigorate the innovation engine of our economy to outcompete China and the rest of the world for decades to come."

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It also compared the bill in a statement to those that powered the country to lead the global economy and expand the middle class as it will bring manufacturing jobs stateside that focus on easing supply chain bottlenecks like the one currently affecting the semiconductor industry.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chair of the Financial Services Committee, said the bill seeks to thwart attempts by China and other bad actors threatening U.S. national security and global financial stability.

"This is why the American COMPETE Act is commonsense, long overdue legislation that will finally hold countries like China accountable for the ways that they engage in illicit or aggressive activity to harm our nation's financial system," she said. "With this bill, our country and our allies will be stronger and better suited to compete and push back against these attacks."

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The Senate passed its version of the bill in June. With Tuesday's unveiling of the House bill, the two chambers of Congress can now negotiate on a final verison.

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"We're in an all-out race for the jobs of the future and to protect our country's global technological edge -- it's time to invest in America's workers and keep our tech economy on the cutting edge," Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, said in a statement.

"The stakes we face are enormous: If we do not invest now in researching, developing and manufacturing the technologies of the future, we risk falling behind China and other global competitors, endangering U.S. jobs, intellectual property and national security," he said.

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