The Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill Tuesday that aims to boost American tech research and development to counter competition from China and other nations.
Senators voted 68-32 to pass the US Innovation and Competition Act, with 31 of the 32 “no” votes coming from Republicans. The other “no” was from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
At the heart of the bill is a $50 billion emergency allotment to the Commerce Department to stand up semiconductor development and manufacturing through research and incentive programs previously authorized by Congress. The funding is a response to America’s share of global semiconductor manufacturing dropping from 37% in 1990 to about 12% now, as well as a chip shortage that has exposed vulnerabilities in the US supply chain.
An Intel Tiger Lake chip is displayed at an Intel news conference during the 2020 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada.REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo
The legislation would also create a new directorate focused on artificial intelligence and quantum