AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Those little chips that are in basically everything — your phones, computers, cars — very few of them are made in the United States.
Some have warned that threatens our national security. So, on Wednesday, a bipartisan bill passed the Senate, to spend tens of billions of dollars to boost U.S. computer chip production.
There’s been a huge push, especially in Texas, to make more chips.
“This is something that crosses party and political lines,” Texas Senator John Cornyn said. “Republicans and Democrats have been working together on this because they recognize the threat to our economy, and our national security if our access would be cut off.”
According to Cornyn, 90% of chips are made in Asia. He helped introduce the bill back in 2020.
It passed the Senate on Wednesday in a 64-33 vote and now heads to the House.
Supporters want to pass it before they go on their August recess. It could get to the president’s desk by the end of the week.
“Samsung announced that they’re going to build a $17 billion facility in Central Texas,” Cornyn said. “I expect other companies will make similar announcements in Texas that will create — not just a manufacturing facility — but a whole ecosystem of suppliers.”
The bill includes $52 billion for U.S. companies that make chips and tax incentives to push companies to invest in them.
Some do worry though about how more businesses making chips will impact water demand.
“I just don’t think anybody’s doing the forecasting and analysis,” Paul Difiore, a project manager with the Colorado Conservancy River Project said. “But the pace of growth here is just so fast, that like, whatever long-range plans we had before, I’m sure are already out of date. They can’t possibly take into account the number of people that have moved here and the number of companies that have moved.”
Cornyn is hopeful this will benefit Texas more than anything else.
“The fundamental issue here is how do we eliminate our vulnerability,” Cornyn said.
If the bill passes through the House, lawmakers are hopeful President Biden will sign it within the next few weeks.