Senate acts to launch formal talks on China competition bill

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The Senate took action on Wednesday to begin formal talks on a bill that will allot $52 billion for semiconductor chip production and supply chain issues and to help boost competition with China. 

Although the chamber's votes on the motion – as well as multiple others – are nonbinding, they are indicative of what the lawmakers would like to see in the final legislation.


The House of Representatives passed the 2,900-page America COMPETES Act of 2022 in February, though largely without bipartisan support.

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the bill ensures the U.S. is not depending on "countries of concern" for critical goods, House Republicans balked at being left out of the drafting of the bill, claiming that it has too many provisions that leave the U.S. vulnerable to China's malign activity.

FILE – In this Feb. 14, 2019 file photo, Chinese staffers adjust U.S. and Chinese flags before the opening session of trade negotiations between U.S. and Chinese trade representatives at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.  (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool / Associated Press)

Formal negotiations in the House and Senate will start through a conference committee, and congressional aides told Reuters that discussions could span months. 

A global shortage of semiconductors has threatened multiple industries. The chips are used in computers, cars, smartphones, TVs, refrigerators and more. 

A Volkswagen executive reportedly said in April that the semiconductor chip supply is unlikely to be enough to fully satisfy demand again until 2024.


U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo warned earlier this year that there is no quick fix. 

"We didn't get in this mess overnight, and we're not going to get out overnight. This has been a problem decades in the making," she explained. "There has been a slow deterioration of our manufacturing base in America over decades, and we need to start now to rebuild."

Arizona semiconductor facility filling chip shortage

Moov Technologies CEO Steven Zhou explains how his company is able to help alleviate the problem. 

Raimondo urged Congress to negotiate and move "as swiftly as possible to get a final version of the bill to President Biden's desk."

Legislators have been working on Chinese competition legislation for more than a year.


"One of the reasons the price of cars have gone up, the price of some electronic goods has gone up, is we have a shortage of semiconductors, where it's too dependent on Taiwan and South Korea," Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said last month. "We need to make those have those good, high paying jobs here in the United States so that we also aren't dependent on shipping those products for thousands of miles. And with China's expansionist ambitions in Taiwan, it's critically important that that be in the United States."

Fox Business' Marisa Schultz, Lucas Manfredi and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.

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