U.S. Senate passes bill to boost chip manufacturing

STORY: The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed sweeping legislation to bolster America's edge in tech and counter China, especially in the chip industry.

That comes as Washington looks to ease its dependence on Chinese-made chips, while confronting a persistent shortage affecting everything from cars to video games.

The 'Chips and Science' act would provide more than $50 billion in production subsidies, as well as more than $20 billion in tax credits for mostly-new chip plants.

It could also authorize more than $170 billion to boost research, to better compete with China in a variety of tech from robotics to AI.

"Everyone knows the chips are causing the car prices and phone prices and appliance prices to go up. They are going to start coming down with these investments in chip."

Beijing has been ramping up its own efforts and seeks to become self-sufficient in technology and manufacturing.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington on Wednesday reiterated Beijing's firm opposition to the bill, which some senators took note of.

"This is a bad day for President Xi and the Chinese Communist Party. The slumbering giant that America has finally awakened for the challenge that we face from the People Republic of China, their aggressive posture in the region, and the potential they would have of cutting off our access to advanced semi-conductors."

Domestic critics of the bill like Senator Bernie Sanders, the only member of the Senate Democratic caucus to vote against it, have called the measure a 'blank check' to highly profitable chip manufacturers.

But while lawmakers have said they would not normally support hefty subsidies for private businesses, they've also raised concerns about U.S. competitiveness, noting that China and the European Union have been awarding incentives worth billions of dollars.

House Reps are expected to vote on the chips bill on Thursday.

If approved as expected, President Joe Biden plans to sign it into law early next week.

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