Preceding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, Congress passes CHIPs Act.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that will provide billions of dollars in support of U.S.-made semiconductors, so that it is less reliant on Taiwan and other nations to provide them.
Last week, The House of Representatives approved legislation that would provide billions of dollars in subsidies for the domestic production of semiconductor chips. It is now on its way to The White House for President Joe Biden’s signature.
The bill cleared the lower chamber with a 243 to 187 vote, with 24 Republican lawmakers joining all but one Democrat in voting for its passage. The House progressives, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, all voted for the bill, despite Sen. Bernie Sanders’ vote against it, according to CBS News.
Earlier in the week, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill before it made its way to the House.
Many lawmakers have argued the act is critical to ensuring national security. America’s share of global chip manufacturing has fallen from roughly 40 percent in 1990 to 12 percent today, according to a report from the Semiconductor Industry Association. This decline has made people worry about China’s growing grip on technology.
“This legislation is a major victory for American families and the American economy. Once enacted, the CHIPS and Science Act will bolster our nation’s production of semiconductor chips—reinvigorating American manufacturing and creating nearly 100,000 good-paying, union jobs,” said Speaker Pelosi.
Others say it is an unwise use of federal funds to support private enterprise.
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late today, becoming the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit the self-ruled island claimed by China, which quickly announced that it would conduct military maneuvers in retaliation for her presence, according to AP News.
Her visit has caused tension between China and the United States. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, and it views visits by foreign government officials as recognition of the island’s sovereignty.
Pelosi has fought for decades to focus attention on Chinese democracy movements. The Biden administration did not explicitly urge Pelosi to call off her plans. It repeatedly and publicly assured Beijing that the visit would not signal any change in U.S. policy on Taiwan says AP News.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell supports Pelosi’s visit as a display of support for Taiwan’s democracy and said allegations that her visit was wrong are “utterly absurd.”
“I believe she has every right to go,” McConnell said in a Senate speech.
Pelosi said the visit “honors America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan’s vibrant democracy.”
Currently Taiwan produces more than 85% of advanced semiconductors. If China took control of the island nation, it could pose a national-security threat for the U.S., potentially blocking access to these advanced technologies.