WASHINGTON, DC – The lack of computer chips continues to impact supply chains and people’s wallets.
However, Congress may be on the verge of a big breakthrough. Democrats and Republicans have come together to try to pass a massive bill by the end of the summer.
WHAT IS THE INVOICE?
The bill is officially called the US Innovation and Competition Act.
The House and Senate have passed their own version of the legislation, which funds scientific research, innovation and manufacturing.
On Thursday, the first of several conference committee hearings took place on the bill.
What is the signification?
A conference committee is when the House and Senate come together to try to resolve their differences and produce a bill that can quickly become law.
It’s a process that’s only used when lawmakers on both sides of the aisle really want to pass something.
More than 100 members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, serve on the committee. They ask questions like, “Is $52 billion the right amount of money to help the chip industry?”
That’s the amount included in the CHIPS law, which was passed by the Senate last year but has yet to be signed into law.
However, this bill is not just about computer chips.
It’s all about competing with China and investing in science and supply chains for the long term.
“This is a rare opportunity to reinvigorate our economy,” Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-CO, said at the start of the hearing.
“The competition we have with China is unlike any we have experienced,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX.
However, since it’s such a big bill, the little details really matter.
Controversial amendments concerning climate change or trade unions could upset the whole legislation.
The president, however, wants the bill on his desk by the end of the summer. Struggling in the polls, the White House wants another bipartisan victory.
President Biden, during a recent visit to Ohio, said, “Pass this fucking bill,” while discussing the legislation and the time lawmakers are spending on it.
WHAT HAS GOT BAD?
Computer chips are often referred to as semiconductors, which are often defined by industry as “the brains of modern electronics”.
How bad has the chip shortage gotten?
A recent report from the Commerce Department indicated that there were less than five days supply on some days for businesses that needed it.
Previously, before the pandemic, a 40-day supply was common.
In fact, many manufacturing plants, especially those that build new cars, have faced significant production delays over the past year or so.
This is one of the reasons why car prices have become so high.
No chips, in most cases, means no new cars, because so much technology is now included as standard equipment in new vehicles.