Biden urges House to ‘put politics aside’ and pass chips bill

President Biden on Thursday urged lawmakers in the House to “put politics aside” and pass a bill boosting the manufacturing of semiconductors after Republicans indicated they would oppose the legislation in the wake of a reconciliation package outlined by Democrats.

“I hope that the House is going to pass this bill today. My plea is, put politics aside. Get it done,” Biden said during remarks focused mainly on the reconciliation package announced hours after the Senate passed the chips bill. 

“We need to lower the cost of automobiles, appliances, smart phones, consumer electronics and so much more. All of these things are powered– almost everything in our lives is powered by these semiconductors and tiny computer chips,” Biden added.

The chips bill, Biden argued, would create tens of thousands of additional jobs, would help lower inflation by shoring up supply chains, and it would increase the United States’s economic footing in competing with China.

“Look, we should pass this today and get moving,” Biden said.

The Senate on Wednesday passed the $280 billion bill to subsidize the domestic chip manufacturing industry and provide tens of billions of dollars for scientific research to keep the country’s technological edge in the global economy. The vote was 64-33, a bipartisan majority.

Hours later, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced a deal on a $369 billion package for spending on climate and health care, as well as changes to close tax loopholes for corporations, all key priorities for Biden.

That announcement has triggered pushback from House Republican leadership, which is now urging members of its conference to vote against the chips bill.

“This legislation comes to the House precisely as Senate Democrats have allegedly struck a deal on their partisan reconciliation bill, pairing up a tone-deaf agenda that on one hand gives billions away in corporate handouts, and on the other hand undoes historic tax cuts implemented by Republicans,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) office wrote in the memo.

Democrats have a narrow majority in the House and could pass the bill if all members are on board, or if a small number of Republicans buck leadership to vote for the chips bill.