Ashley Schapitl (202) 224-4515
Wyden Urges Senate Passage of Incentives for American Chips Manufacturing
As Prepared for Delivery
Mr. President, the Senate has begun a debate on critical legislation dealing with the shortage of computer chips and chip production in America.
I come from a state that’s a leader in tech innovation, not just for the U.S. but for the whole world. Oregonians know how important it is to invest and make sure that the U.S. stays at the forefront of technological breakthroughs. But the reality is, when it comes to chips, the U.S. has been falling behind. So I want to take just a few minutes to describe why it’s so essential for the Congress to get this legislation done.
First of all — it’s going to bring down costs for consumers and businesses. Everybody knows there are chips in laptops, phones and cars. But there are also chips in refrigerators, even vacuum cleaners. From the time you pick your head up off the pillow to the time you go back down to sleep, you’re interacting with computer chips.
That’s what made it such an economic nightmare when the pandemic hit and the supply of semiconductors got cut short. Prices for a host of important goods went into the stratosphere. Some products you couldn’t get at all. A lot of factories in America went dark because they couldn’t get component parts. Anybody who’s had to buy a car in the last few years probably has a horror story to share about the buying process.
This legislation is going to go a long way to increasing the production and the supply of chips to bring down consumer costs and address those key shortages.
Second issue — investing in domestic chip production is going to create a whole lot of good-paying jobs. Oregonians know well that the jobs at those chip makers can become an economic fuel for an entire region. We need to guarantee that investment happens here in the U.S. instead of overseas.
Third, this bill will help to shore up our economic and national security. When there aren’t enough chips to keep our factories running and our shelves stocked, workers and our economy suffer. And when the vast majority of chips are produced in just a few sites overseas, there’s a big risk that the U.S. won’t be able to get its hands on the chips needed to keep the American people safe in a conflict. So producing more chips here at home means our economy will be more resilient and our country will be more secure.
I’ll close on this. The Senate passed a larger version of this bill last year, and it included a trade package that Senator Crapo and I wrote together. It focused on cracking down on China’s worst trade abuses, including the abhorrent use of forced labor. It included proposals that went after authoritarian censorship overseas, which is a growing danger to freedom of speech here in the United States. I also sought to renew a key program for job training and worker support known as Trade Adjustment Assistance.
That trade package is not included in the slimmed-down version of the CHIPS legislation now before the Senate. However, I can promise that the Finance Committee is going to keep working on these issues. Cracking down on trade cheats and fighting for investment and jobs in America is one of our top priorities. So I look forward to continuing our work on those issues in the weeks and months ahead.
As for today, I’m pleased the Senate is moving forward with this CHIPS debate. This legislation is long overdue. This represents a serious, new commitment to innovation in America, and in my view this should just be a first step of many on that front. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
A video of Wyden’s floor remarks is here.
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