Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge Biden to Shore up Chip Manufacturing

Feb 03 2021 |
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Letter urges White House to use provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act as semiconductor shortage causes slowdowns at auto plants.

On Monday we wrote we’d be keeping an eye on any plans from the federal government to incentivize domestic research and production for the semiconductor industry. We didn’t have to wait long for the next bit of news. This time it’s a letter cosigned by 15 senators about the semiconductor chip shortage that’s affecting auto production globally, including car factories across the United States.

The Trump administration’s targeting of Chinese telecom giant Huawei for allegedly evading American sanctions in order to sell equipment to Iran has created some unintended consequences. From Reuters:

Automakers around the world are shutting assembly lines because of problems in the delivery of semiconductors, which have been exacerbated in some cases by the former Trump administration’s actions against Chinese chip factories. …

A U.S. spokeswoman for Nissan said Tuesday the automaker made some short-term production adjustments because of the shortage “starting with three non-production days on the truck line at our Canton, Mississippi, facility.”

Can’t crank out cars without these semiconductor chips! This got senators from states with lots of auto production to write to President Biden. What would they like him to do?

We also strongly urge you to support efforts to secure the necessary funding to swiftly implement the semiconductor-related provisions in the most recent National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which would boost the production of semiconductor manufacturing and incent the domestic production of semiconductors in the future. While this is not an immediate fix, this engagement is also vital to maintain the competitive advantage of American auto manufacturing.”

They want President Biden to fund the provisions in the NDAA to boost semiconductor manufacturing? We wrote about the NDAA last week! So far, the White House hasn’t commented on the senators’ letter.