On Thursday, the House passed a massive $280 billion spending bill meant to counter China in a vote of 243-187, with no Democrats voting against the legislation and 24 Republicans voting in favor. The bill has already passed through the Senate and now heads to President Biden’s desk.
The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 includes $52.7 billion to subsidize the domestic production of semiconductor chips and $24 billion for tax incentives and other purposes.
The bill will also authorize roughly $200 billion in science and technology research funding that will be spread across several government agencies over the next five years. The largest recipient of the research funds will be the National Science Foundation, which will receive $81 billion.
The legislation made it through the Senate in a vote of 63-33, with 17 Republicans voting in favor. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) led the effort to pass the bill in the Senate and convinced enough Republicans to get on board by arguing it was necessary to beat China. “If we didn’t get there first, our rivals, chief among them the Chinese Communist Party, would likely beat us to the punch and reshape the world in their authoritarian image,” Schumer said before the vote.
Republican opponents of the bill said the semiconductor funds are akin to corporate welfare. Earlier this week, President Biden and Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks discussed the legislation with the CEO of Lockheed Martin, who says more semiconductors are needed to build advanced weapons.
An earlier version of the legislation passed the House back in February, but it was stalled in the Senate until it was stripped down to the CHIPS and Science Act. Even though other elements were removed from the bill, the final legislation added $30 billion.