Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., have reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would strengthen Federal efforts to expand domestic manufacturing of semiconductor chips.

The Securing Semiconductor Supply Chains Act, reintroduced in the Senate on Feb. 2, would direct the U.S. Department of Commerce’s SelectUSA program – in collaboration with Federal agencies and state economic development organizations – to develop strategies to attract investment in U.S. semiconductor manufacturers and supply chains.

The SelectUSA program was established in 2011 to improve Federal efforts to attract business investments from foreign partners in the United States that support U.S. firms and create more jobs.

“We need to build on the CHIPS and Science Act to continue advancing efforts that will lower the cost of goods and strengthen our economic competitiveness, supply chains and national security,” said Sen. Peters.

“That’s why I’m reintroducing this bipartisan bill that would do just that by encouraging investment in U.S. semiconductor manufacturers as well as their suppliers – lessening our dependence on foreign producers for these critical technologies and creating good-paying jobs here at home,” he added.

The bill would direct the SelectUSA program to engage with state-level economic development organizations about how they are attracting foreign direct investment to onshore activities related to semiconductor manufacturing – and identify what resource gaps or other challenges they face in achieving that goal.

SelectUSA would then be required to develop strategies to increase investments in semiconductor manufacturing.

Sen. Scott had a different take on the Chips and Science Act, which created $52 billion of Federal funding to incentivize U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturing.

“As Communist China’s influence in the semiconductor market continues to grow and some corporations in the industry, like Intel, put profits over American national security interests, it is beyond time to boost domestic production,” said Sen. Scott. “The Chips and Science Act did nothing to strengthen American manufacturers while propping up business in Communist China – that is unacceptable. Now more than ever, we must be laser focused on producing American-made semiconductors.”

The senators put forward their bipartisan bill after the Biden administration issued a report emphasizing that the SelectUSA program could be further leveraged to strengthen private sector investments across the semiconductor manufacturing supply chain.

The senators’ previous legislation in the 117th Congress passed the Senate but stalled when it reached the House.

Companion House legislation – introduced by Reps. Greg Pence, R-Ind., and Anna Eshoo, D-Calif. – recently cleared the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s innovation, data, and commerce subcommittee.

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.