Core stuff May 28 news, this Thursday, the US Senate further promoted a bill to strengthen US technology research and development, innovation. Foreign media reported that the total amount of the bill reached 190 billion US dollars, including the previous investment of 52 billion US dollars in chip production.
The auto industry has been hit hard by a global semiconductor shortage starting last year, and deliveries of consumer electronics have slowed. With the continuation of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, all kinds of materials and components have the problem of insufficient supply. Foreign media commented that the measure of the bill has been widely supported, reflecting that both parties in the United States are eager to solve the current shortage crisis.
Bill link: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/1260/text
Bill worth up to $190 billion, still multi-step process
The U.S. Senate voted 68-30 on Thursday to wrap up deliberations on the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (USICA), an amendment to the previous Endless Frontier Act. case.
Specifically, USICA will authorize Congress to invest about $190 billion in strengthening U.S. technological capabilities, including a $52 billion program previously used to strengthen semiconductor production capabilities.
To strengthen collaboration between manufacturing and universities across the U.S., the bill also allocates $10 billion to create regional technology centers, strengthen partnerships and support selected research projects.
Next, the U.S. Senate will hold a final vote on whether to pass the bill, which has yet to be determined. If USICA passes the U.S. Senate, the bill must be voted on by the House of Representatives before being sent to the White House for U.S. President Joe Biden to sign into law.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who co-wrote the USICA legislation, said the U.S. spends less than 1 percent of gross domestic product on basic scientific research and half that of China.
In his Senate address, he called on lawmakers to support the bill. “If we don’t step up now, we’ll fall behind the rest of the world,” he said. He also mentioned that the bill will allow the United States to surpass its competitors in future innovation and production capacity through investment in science and technology.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida emphasized that technological research and development is very important to the United States, and that “the 21st century will be defined by this competition between China and the United States.”
Emerging technology research and development funds have been cut, and sponsors are dissatisfied with the changes in the bill
Despite the huge investment in USICA, it is uncertain whether it will actually help the United States gain a competitive advantage in technology development, research and innovation.
According to the New York Times, the bill has been undercut by the resulting haggling that has attracted lobbyists from many industries due to its huge investment.
It is reported that the $100 billion originally used to develop emerging technologies has been cut to $29 billion, with most of the funds being transferred to laboratories affiliated with the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. Legislative pushers, in order to gain wider support for the bill, have added a number of other projects, such as a new round of funding for NASA.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which also lobbied, said in a statement: “The U.S. economy is based on technology and needs professionals of all kinds, and the Endless Frontiers Act ensures that.”
In addition, the Senate doubled the budget for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s research arm.
Republican Senator Todd Young of Indiana was another drafter of the bill. The New York Times said he was disappointed by some of the changes to the bill, but said in an interview on Thursday that the bill would still represent a “substantial increase in funding for applied research.”
Hours before the bill was due to pass, senators were still drafting major elements, such as a major trade measure that would allow certain products to be imported into the U.S. exempt from tariffs.
In addition, in the final closed-door meeting, the original 15-minute procedural vote was extended by four hours due to differences between the US Republicans and Democrats. Some lawmakers believe that the bill is being pushed too quickly.
Conclusion: US semiconductor policy is gradually landing
Since last year, the shortage of semiconductors has spread to various industries that require chips, including automobiles, consumer electronics, and home appliances. The continuation of the shortage problem has also affected people’s lives, national defense and other aspects. This has also made governments aware of the importance of semiconductor supply chain security. To this end, the governments of the United States, South Korea, Europe and other countries are strengthening their local semiconductor manufacturing capabilities.
After the inauguration of the new U.S. President Biden, the United States has made frequent moves in the semiconductor field. Not only has relevant bills been proposed, but Biden has also personally held an industry summit on semiconductor shortages. Under various subsidy commitments, chip manufacturing companies such as Samsung and TSMC have announced plans to build factories in the United States. The advancement of the USICA process also means that the US subsidies to the semiconductor industry will no longer be empty promises, and will further affect the semiconductor industry.