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.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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