AAM President Scott Paul: Semiconductor Investment Must Be the First Step, Not the Last Word

America’s workers and manufacturers are counting on Congress to follow up strategic investments with action on trade enforcement. 

Washington, D.C.— The Senate on Wednesday voted 64-33 to pass legislation to invest $52 billion in semiconductor manufacturing, along with tens of billions of dollars in funding for research and development. Work is not complete, however, as the bill passed by the Senate failed to include key trade enforcement provisions to help U.S. workers and manufacturers take on the predatory trade actions of China and other nations.

AAM President Scott Paul said:

“For decades, the United States failed to nurture its own industrial capabilities. Critical production went overseas, leading to the loss of both middle class jobs and the knowledge needed for advanced manufacturing. Our economic and national security weakened as a result.

“That’s why it is so encouraging that Senators from both sides of the aisle came together to invest in semiconductor manufacturing. Semiconductors were invented in the United States, and they should be made here, too. And as we’ve seen over the past year, those little chips are needed to make a whole lot of other things.

“This must be the first step rather than the last word. Other key industries also face many of the same challenges as the semiconductor industry, and are equally as important. The United States needs to do far more to bring critical production back to our shores and rebuild our industrial base.

“And I’ll caution that all of these investments will be for naught if the United States doesn’t also act to counter China’s predatory trade practices. American workers and manufacturers need 21st century trade tools to take on the 21st tactics deployed by the Chinese Communist Party and other bad actors. 

“Legislation like the Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0 is a good place to start. That measure has bipartisan support, and already has been passed by the House. The Senate must find a path to passage as soon as possible.

“If Congress fails to follow up strategic investments with enhanced trade enforcement measures, I fear all of the money we are investing today will leak away tomorrow without making an impact.”

Scott Paul wrote to Congressional leadership on Tuesday to express appreciation that “Congress is making public investments in America’s industrial sector” while encouraging additional efforts to “level the playing field for American manufacturing and its workers.” Find that letter here.