Summary – Bernie Sanders seeks unanimous approval for an amendment to The CHIPS Act of 2022 that would prevent companies from receiving grants under this legislation unless they agreed not to buy back their own stock.
What is the CHIPS Act? – The bill would provide $52.7 billion in appropriations to implement the currently authorized Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act – Source
This includes $39 billion for incentives to build, improve, or expand U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, including $2 billion for production of the mature semiconductors critical for automobiles. It would also invest $13.2 billion in semiconductor research and development (R&D), the development of a highly skilled semiconductor workforce, and the creation of a Microelectronics Commons network. The bill would provide $1.5 billion for the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund to support U.S. and allied leadership in the global telecommunications arena by accelerating open architectures and fostering a competitive, secure, and standards-based ecosystem for 5G and beyond networks. The bill also includes a 25 percent investment tax credit for manufacturing of semiconductors or semiconductor manufacturing equipment in the United States
Bernie Sanders: I have heard time and again my republican colleagues and a number of Democrats voiced their serious concern about the deficit and our national debt period we are told that because of the deficit, that at a time when we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major countries on earth, we cannot extend the child tax credit to help working parents and substantially reduce childhood poverty. At a time when over 600,000 Americans are homeless and some 18 million families are spending half of their incomes on the high cost of housing, we are told over and over again that because of the deficit, we cannot build the low income and affordable housing we desperately need. At a time when millions of senior citizens of this country desperately need help to go to a dentist because their teeth are rotting in their mouths, they cannot afford hearing aids, they can’t afford eyeglasses, we are told that we cannot afford to expand Medicare because of the deficit. At a time when the average American family in this country is spending $15,000 a year on child care, an unimaginable amount of money for a working family, we are told that we cannot reform a dysfunctional childcare system because of the deficit. At a time when some 70 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured, we are told that we cannot guarantee health care to all Americans as a human right, like virtually every other major country does, because of the deficit. In other words Mr. President, despite the fact that half of the people in our country today are living paycheck to paycheck, despite the fact that half of our seniors live on incomes of $25,000 or less, despite the fact that we have more income and wealth inequality today than we’ve had in 100 years, where three billionaires own more wealth than the bottom half of America, despite all of that, whenever it comes to protecting the needs of low income or working families, I hear over and over again we just cannot afford to do that because of the deficit. Well, Mr. President, guess what all of that profound and serious concerns about the deficit fades away when it comes to providing a $76 billion blank check to the highly profitable microchip industry, with no protections at all for the American taxpayer. Somehow, the deficit is of great concern when it comes to providing help to working families, to low income Americans, to children, to seniors, but it’s not a concern when you provide massive corporate welfare for enormously profitable multinational corporations. I guess, Mr. President, when the semiconductor industry spends $19 million on laboring this year alone and when Intel spends $100 million on lobbying and campaign contributions over the past 20 years, when that industry says jump, the response from Congress is how high? That is what a political system dominated by big money looks like. The people in this country who desperately need help can’t get it, the corporations that are making huge profits and the CEO’s who are making exorbitant compensation packages get everything they need and more. In other words, it appears that the deep concerns about the deficit are rather selective period now, Mr. President, after I finish my remarks, I will give my colleagues a chance to prove me wrong. I’ll be raising a budget point of order against this bill because it increases the deficit by over $79 billion, with $76 billion of that money going to the microchip industry, with no strings attached. Mr. President, let me be very clear there is no doubt that there is a global shortage of microchips and semiconductors, which is making it harder for manufacturers to produce the cars, cell phones, household appliances, and electronic equipment that we need, and that is why I fully support efforts to expand US microchip production. But the question we should be asking is this should American taxpayers provide the microchip industry with a blank check of over $76 billion at a time when semiconductor companies are making tens of billions of dollars in profit right now? And paying the head of Intel some $170 million a year in compensation. And I think the answer to that question is a resounding no. That is why at the conclusion of my remarks I will be asking unanimous consent to attach an amendment to this legislation. This amendment is simple and straightforward. It would prevent microchip companies from receiving grants under this legislation unless they agreed not to buy back their own stock. Not complicated period now, this is rather amazing. This is really quite incredible and tells you where we are as a nation politically. Over the past decade, semiconductor companies have spent nearly $250 billion, 70% of their profits, not on research and development, not on building new microchip plants in America, what this bill is presumably about, but on buying back their own stock to enrich their wealthy shareholders.
“America needs to make things again, especially critical chips and other tech, but we need to do it in a way that benefits our country and our workers. Unless we add meaningful safeguards in this package, we should call this for what it is: the China Investment Bill.” — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
What’s your opinion? Should we be giving Billions of Tax payer dollars to the Microchip manufacturing industry?