President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan bill on Tuesday that aims to boost the United States’ competitiveness with China by investing billions of dollars in domestic semiconductor manufacturing and scientific research.
“Today is a building day.” “Today, America is delivering,” Biden said outside the White House during the signing ceremony. Hundreds of people, including tech executives, union presidents, and political leaders from both parties, joined him.
The Chips and Science Act includes more than $52 billion in funding for US companies that manufacture computer chips, as well as billions more in tax breaks to encourage investment in semiconductor manufacturing.
Meanwhile, the White House announced a new partnership between Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries that includes $4.2 billion in chip production as part of an expansion of GlobalFoundries’ upstate New York facility.
According to supporters, the funding is required to sharpen America’s technological edge and revitalize the country’s sagging chip industry. According to the White House, the United States produces only about 10% of the world’s supply of semiconductors, while East Asia accounts for 75% of global production — including the majority of top-tier chips.
Semiconductors are essential components of a wide range of products, including consumer electronics, automobiles, medical equipment, and weapons systems. According to officials, the Covid-19 pandemic caused a chip shortage and strained supply chains, highlighting America’s reliance on foreign-made chips and exposing a potential national security threat.
The signing comes as Biden and congressional Democrats wrap up a busy month before lawmakers leave Washington for the rest of the month to focus on midterm election campaigns.
Senate Democrats passed a broad bill on Sunday to fund ambitious climate, energy, and health policies by raising taxes on the wealthy and reforming prescription drug pricing.
In late June, Biden also signed a bipartisan bill to strengthen gun regulations, including increased background check requirements. The bill was rushed through Congress in the aftermath of a deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers.
Last week, Biden revealed that a US strike in Afghanistan killed top al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, who was a key figure in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
This week, Biden is also expected to sign another bill that strengthens health benefits for veterans who were exposed to chemicals billowing from toxic burn pits.
After Republicans temporarily blocked it, the bill was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Some veterans’ groups, as well as comedian Jon Stewart, who emerged as a leading advocate, were outraged by the move.
Biden’s already low approval ratings have dropped in recent months as global inflation and supply chain issues wreak havoc on Americans’ wallets at the grocery store and gas station. His unpopularity, combined with a difficult political map and other political headwinds, has fueled Democratic fears of a rout in the November midterm elections, with Republicans taking control of one or both chambers of Congress.
However, recent polls show that Democrats’ chances of retaining the Senate have improved, and Biden predicted on Monday that passage of the climate and tax bills will “immediately help” in the midterm elections.