WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats have quickly pushed legislation through the House that they say positions the U.S. to better compete with China economically by strengthening the domestic semiconductor industry and shoring up strained supply chains.
The bill passed by a vote of 222-210. Criticizing China has become a bipartisan playbook in Washington. But, in this case, Republicans panned the measure as "toothless" and short of what is needed to hold China accountable for a range of actions.
The nearly 3,000-page bill includes massive investments designed to boost semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S., but Democrats have also tucked in other priorities that have raised GOP concerns.
As Reuters pointed out, a vote on the bill happened just hours after the Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony. Congress has been critical of the International Olympic Committee for awarding China the opportunity to host the Games.
The need to increase manufacturing for chips is high.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told a group of reporters, "Every day we delay we fall farther behind and that increases our domestic national security risk."
The House has now taken the next step in authorizing nearly $300 billion for research and development, which would include $52 billion in semiconductor subsidies which are key to making automobiles and computers.