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Senate approves $250B bill to boost US technology manufacturing

Credit: WikiMedia

The U.S. Senate has approved a major bipartisan industrial bill to boost the country's technology manufacturing and increase competitiveness with China, with some funds going toward computer chip production.

The $250 billion bill, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, passed 68-32 on Tuesday. In its current form, it provides $52 billion for domestic semiconductor manufacturing, a 30% funding boost for the National Science Foundation, and $29 billion to fund a new applied sciences directorate, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

If passed, the bill could help companies like Apple, which are suffering the effects of a global chip shortage. In May, Apple was among a coalition that lobbied the U.S. for chip manufacturing subsidies.

In addition to the aforementioned funding, the USICA also provides $10 billion to reshape cities and regions into "technology hubs." That money will fund the development of well-paying technology jobs and facilities outside of the coastal areas.

"It's the largest investment in scientific research and technological innovation in generations. It sets the United States on a path to lead the world in the industries of the future," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The passage of the bill follows a delay before the Senate's Memorial Day recess that was caused by some concerns about scope and size from Republican lawmakers. Originally, the bill was built on Sen. Schumer's Endless Frontier Act proposal, which was eventually cut down.

Earlier in 2021, the Biden Administration called the global chip shortage a "national security" issue. In February, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to combat concerns over semiconductor supply problems.

The bill will now head to the House, where it faces a competing piece of legislation, before it can land on President Biden's desk.

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