WASHINGTON — A bipartisan bill subsidizing domestic semiconductor production cleared its first procedural hurdle on Tuesday in a 64-34 vote, even as the details of the legislation are still being worked out.
The legislation would provide roughly $52 billion in subsidies to encourage chip companies to boost production in the U.S., seen by the White House and leaders of both parties as a critical national-security need. Lawmakers worked until late Tuesday to negotiate other elements in the larger competitiveness package, dubbed USICA.
The vote paves the way for a larger package that would include additional funding for scientific research. Ahead of the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would use the result to gauge whether there was enough Republican support for the additional funding, which has been under negotiation for more than a year.
“This will be a test vote, and the outcome will decide whether the science portion of USICA is included,” Schumer said, while adding he personally supports a larger proposal.
Tuesday’s motion needed only 51 votes to pass, but Schumer said because it received more than 60 votes—enough to comfortably overcome a Senate filibuster and advance, he would move forward with adding the science funding. That would back early-stage research using technology in water systems, technology and behavioral health, precision agriculture, and other sectors. It will also bolster technology education.
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