Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is reportedly preparing a Senate vote on legislation that would bring at least $50 billion in assistance to the domestic semiconductor manufacturing industry, along with a tax credit for semiconductor manufacturers.
According to Senate sources, Schumer could force a floor vote on the bill as early as next Tuesday, The Hill reports.
The slimmed-down Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America bill, intended to foster more competitiveness with China, at a minimum will include emergency funding for semiconductor manufacturers and the investment tax credit from the Facilitating American-Built Semiconductors Act, according to media reports.
But the legislation isn't expected to include a package of trade provisions, which Senate Republicans wanted in a similar version of the bill that passed last year.
Even with the Republican-requested omissions, The Hill reports that some Democrats are upset the CHIPS bill won't be as expansive as its predecessor.
"I'm not fine with it. I don't think I would say I can't vote for a CHIPS bill, but if we're going to be competitive, do we just want to be a little competitive? Why not include all these things had such strong bipartisan support and be really competitive?" said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
The prevailing question: Will Democrats be able to persuade at least 10 Republican senators to support the bill, thus breaking the required 60-vote filibuster for new legislation?
Over the Senate's recent holiday break, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., threatened to block the legislation if Democrats continued to work on a budget reconciliation bill that would lower drug prices and raise taxes on pass-through business income.
On Tuesday, however, McConnell suggested that a narrow CHIPS bill — focused solely on domestic semiconductor manufacturers — could pass.
"There are a couple of ways out of this, potentially. There is the possibility of the House simply taking the Senate bill and passing it," McConnell told reporters. "Or there is a widespread concern on a bipartisan basis on the CHIPS portion of [the bill]. Another option would be to spin off the CHIPS part of it and pass it."
Even with such proposed changes, Senate Republican Whip John Thune of South Dakota and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, are skeptical as to whether a spun-off CHIPS bill could garner enough GOP support in the Senate.
For starters, Cornyn has already said he would not vote for it.
The legislation — originally called the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, then renamed the CHIPS Act — passed the Senate last year by a 68-32 vote.
According to The Hill, the program cost an estimated $250 billion and would provide money for scientific research, money for robotics as well as semiconductors, and $45 billion to improve supply chains for critical items.
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