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Feb. 24, 2021, 9:37 a.m. EST

Schumer says Senate will work on bill to ease semiconductor shortage, take on China

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By Jonathan Nicholson

The Senate will take up a bill aimed at boosting the United States’ economic competitiveness with China this spring, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday.

Speaking at a weekly press conference, Schumer said he wanted the bill to be bipartisan and said it would include legislation he sponsored last year with Indiana Republican Sen. Todd Young.

The Endless Frontiers Act would rename the National Science Foundation and charge it with finding ways to advance U.S. efforts in certain high tech areas, including artificial intelligence, high performance computing and advanced manufacturing.

“Today, on our caucus call, I directed the chairs and members of the relevant committees to start drafting a legislative package to outcompete China and create new American jobs,” Schumer said.

“It will take the key, cutting [edge] industries and make American investment so we will outcompete China in all of them,” Schumer said.

In particular, he noted semiconductor /zigman2/quotes/200571902/composite SMH -0.23% manufacturing as an economic and national security weakness.

“You all see that auto plants throughout America are closed because they can’t get the chips. We cannot rely on foreign processors for the chips. We cannot allow China to get ahead of us in chip production,” he said.

Schumer said he hoped to have the bill on the Senate floor “this spring” and said he was looking at “emergency funding” as part of the plan to boost semiconductor production.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she expects Congress to act on a bill soon for supplemental appropriations to improve the U.S. Capitol’s physical security in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection, but it is unclear if Schumer’s reference to “emergency funding” was a reference to that effort.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden is scheduled to sign an executive order to review U.S. supply chains for large-capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals, critical minerals and semiconductors that power cars, phones, military equipment and other goods.

Now read: All of President Biden’s key executive orders — in one chart

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