Lawmakers have expressed determination to bolster U.S. production and competitiveness in key industries in reaction to supply-chain disruptions that have caused alarm throughout the pandemic, but in many cases their efforts are stalling.
Nearly a dozen bills related to supply chain issues have been introduced in Congress since the beginning of November, underscoring the sense of urgency to jumpstart supply chains that have frustrated producers and consumers alike. That pressure to act likely won’t be fully resolved anytime soon, even though there have been some glimmers of hope in the marketplace.
Perhaps most alarming has been the shortage of semiconductors, which has cost automakers hundreds of billions of dollars. The CHIPS Act, which aims to beef up domestic semiconductor production, was wrapped into the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act that passed the Senate in June. It would provide $52 billion toward construction of semiconductor manufacturing facilities and support of domestic semiconductor R&D, but it still awaits a vote by the House.
The delay has frustrated many officials in the Biden administration and Congress. In October, two dozen lawmakers sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) requesting the immediate passage of the CHIPS Act as well as the FABS Act, which would implement an investment tax credit for the development of semiconductor manufacturing equipment and facilities. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer echoed the call at a roundtable a few weeks later.
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators has introduced a short bill to strengthen a semiconductor incentive program. Additional bills introduced over recent weeks would create a Commerce Office of Supply Chain Resiliency to support supply chains that are prone to shortages or price increases, establish a National Manufacturing Extension Partnership Supply Chain Database to provide an overview of domestic supply chain networks, and support further research, studies, and risk assessments of critical supply chain issues.