U.S. Senate mulls $30 billion in funding to boost chipmaking sector, source says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate is considering including $30 billion in funding for a previously approved package of measures aimed at supercharging the country's chipmaking industry, a congressional source involved in the effort said on Thursday.

Lawmakers would seek to bring the package, which would include other elements aimed at countering China and boosting the U.S. tech sector, to a full vote in April, the person said, declining to be named because the legislation has not been finalized.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said last month he had directed lawmakers to craft the legislation to counter China’s economic rise, capitalizing on bipartisan hardline support in Congress to counter alleged unfair practices by Beijing.

The bill would be based on legislation Schumer and Republican Senator Todd Young proposed last year that seeks funding of $100 billion to spur research in key tech areas, from artificial intelligence to quantum computing and semiconductors.

Schumer's office also said the package could be used to provide emergency funding to implement the bipartisan semiconductor programs included in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, but which still lack funding.

Some U.S. automakers have slowed production due to a shortage of semiconductor chips, which are scarce in part due to a consumer-driven boom in demand for cell phones and computers during the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper, Editing by Franklin Paul and Paul Simao)

03/04/2021 18:01

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