The U.S. House of Representatives is slated to vote Thursday on a $280 billion bill focused on domestic semiconductor manufacturing and scientific research. But the measure, once anticipated to sail through the lower chamber with ease, may face a closer-than-anticipated vote, after Republicans objected to Wednesday’s surprise deal among Senate Democrats on a separate $739 billion healthcare, climate and tax package.
House Republican leaders late Wednesday told their colleagues in a memo that they recommend voting against the Chips and Science Act, which the 50-50 Senate had just passed on Wednesday afternoon in a bipartisan vote.
“This legislation comes to the House precisely as Senate Democrats have allegedly struck a deal on their partisan reconciliation bill, pairing up a tone-deaf agenda that on one hand gives billions away in corporate handouts, and on the other hand undoes historic tax cuts implemented by Republicans,” said the whip notice from House GOP leadership.
Republican Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma indicated that he’s in agreement with his leadership’s view in a tweet.
“In light of this deal, whether Republican Members support CHIPS or not (I don’t), we must ALL vote no. Passing CHIPS will pave the way for the radical Build Back Broke plan. The time to fight is now,” Hern wrote on Twitter, drawing tweets of support from two GOP congressmen from North Carolina — Dan Bishop and Greg Murphy.
But some House Republicans still could end up backing the chips bill, and GOP support isn’t needed, given that Democrats have a four-vote majority in that chamber of Congress.
At the same time, there are concerns that some progressive House Democrats could vote against the chips legislation, following the lead of a prominent independent senator who usually votes with Democrats, Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders didn’t support the measure on Wednesday, after tweeting that the country should “rebuild the microchip industry, but not in a way that just benefits profitable corporations.”
“We maintain our 85% probability that the CHIPS-Plus legislation passes the House this evening, due to momentum, the assistance of a few Republicans, whose districts depend on the funding included in the legislation, and efforts made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [a Democrat from California], as well as the White House, to target Progressive Democrats,” said Benjamin Salisbury, director of research at Height Capital Markets, in a note on Thursday morning.
traded lower Thursday, erasing part of the prior day’s rally, which came after Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell suggested the pace of interest-rate hikes may slow. Investors also were reacting to a report showing U.S. gross domestic product has contracted for two quarters in a row, intensifying a debate over whether the country has already sunk into a recession.