Following successful votes in the Senate and House of Representatives, President Joe Biden has signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law. The $280 billion measure will provide significant financial assistance to American semiconductor firms. It sets aside $52 billion in tax credits and funding for US chipmakers to expand domestic production. In a rare episode of bipartisan unity, the Senate voted 64-33 in favor of the bill. It was later passed by the House thanks to a 243-187 vote.
“America invented the semiconductor, but over the years we let manufacturing of semiconductors move overseas. As we saw during the pandemic, when the factories that make these chips shut down, the global economy came to a screeching halt, driving up costs for families” Biden said ahead of the ceremony. “A third of the core inflation last year was due to the high price of automobiles, which was driven by the shortage of semiconductors. For the sake of our economy, jobs and national security, we have to make these semiconductors in America again.”
The CHIPS and Science Act is unlikely to affect domestic production immediately. It takes years to build new foundries and upgrade existing ones to increase output. When Intel recently broke ground on two new $20 billion facilities in Arizona, the company said it would take about three years to complete construction on those plants.
The signing comes shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a trip to Taiwan, despite warnings from China that there would be “resolute and strong measures” if she went ahead with visit. Before her arrival on the island, Taiwan’s presidential website went down to an apparent cyberattack. The self-governing island is home to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the most important chip foundry in the world. On its own, TSMC supplies the majority of all semiconductor parts used by US companies.