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A bipartisan bill aimed at promoting chip-making and scientific research passed the U.S. House of Representatives today in a move that has received strong support from the industry.

The CHIPS and Science Act includes more than $52.7 billion for U.S. companies that produce computer chips and billions in tax credits to encourage investment in chip manufacturing. In addition, the bill also provides $200 billion for scientific research, including establishing a technology directorate at the National Science Foundation to turn research into commercial products.

The core aim of the legislation, which still needs to be signed by President Joe Biden to become law, is to promote domestic manufacturing of semiconductors and assist U.S. companies in competing with China in developing cutting-edge technologies.

Beneficiaries of the bill, such as International Business Machines Corp., welcomed the passage of the act. “Our company, along with many others, is ready to get to work to make sure this investment accelerates U.S. leadership in semiconductor innovation and manufacturing and benefits as many Americans as possible, as soon as possible,” IBM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Arvind Krishna said in a statement.

​Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger was likewise positive, saying that the passing of the bill “is a critical step to support the entire U.S. semiconductor industry and to help ensure continued American leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and R&D.”

The bill did not receive universal support, however. Despite initial bipartisan support, some Republican lawmakers voted against it, some in protest against a reconciliation bill being pushed by Democrats. As noted on July 18, there were also concerns in the industry that the legislation would provide too little support for firms that design chips but don’t manufacture them.

In one case, an employee of a company considering opposing the legislation said Intel could receive as much as $30 billion in subsidies for the legislation. The employee claimed that providing so much support to Intel without supporting competitors that design chips but don’t produce them is “going to cause problems in the market.”

Buried in the legislation but spotted by CoinDesk is also a provision in the act to establish a new advisor on blockchain and cryptocurrency issues who will work in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The bill is expected to be signed by the president by the end of the week.

Photo: Unsplash

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