Two dozen House Republicans helped pass a $280 billion bill on Thursday to bolster the domestic chip manufacturing industry and subsidize scientific research, bucking GOP leadership’s recommendation to vote against the measure.
The House passed the CHIPS and Science Act in a 243-187-1 vote, with 24 Republicans joining most Democrats in supporting the measure. One Democrat, Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) voted present.
The measure, cleared by the Senate in a bipartisan 64-33 vote on Wednesday, is meant to bolster the United States’s competitiveness with China through a keen focus on the domestic chip manufacturing industry.
The bill provides $54 billion for chips and public wireless supply chain innovation, including $39 billion to build, expand and modernize domestic semiconductor facilities. Additionally, the measure allocates $11 billion for research and development headed by the Department of Commerce.
Late Wednesday night, House Republican leadership announced that it would be whipping against the bill, urging members of the conference to vote against the measure the following day.
Twenty-four Republicans, however, balked at that recommendation, including Reps. Jim Baird (Ind.), Troy Balderson (Ohio), Mike Carey (Ohio), Steve Chabot (Ohio), Liz Cheney (Wyo.), Tom Cole (Okla.), Rodney Davis (Ill.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Mike Garcia (Calif.), Bob Gibbs (Ohio), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Kay Granger (Texas), Trey Hollingsworth (Ind.), Chris Jacobs (N.Y.), Bill Johnson (Ohio), Dave Joyce (Ohio), John Katko (N.Y.), Young Kim (Calif.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Michael McCaul (Texas), David McKinley (W.Va.), Peter Meijer (Mich.), Michael Turner (Ohio) and Fred Upton (Mich.).
The whip announcement came hours after Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced a deal on a $369 billion climate, tax and health care package, which Democrats had been negotiating for months.
Last month, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threatened to tank the semiconductor bill if Democrats went ahead with a reconciliation package.
But the odds of a reconciliation measure coming to fruition looked dim in recent days after Manchin earlier this month said he would not support climate spending or new taxes increases on corporations or wealthy individuals in a reconciliation package, and McConnell ultimately voted for the semiconductor bill.
Hours after that bipartisan vote, however, Schumer and Manchin announced their deal, angering lawmakers in the House GOP conference.
The Republican whip memo referenced the reconciliation package, in addition to concerns regarding inflation and the deficit.
McCaul, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters ahead of Thursday’s vote that he would support the measure, despite being unhappy with the Schumer-Manchin deal
He called Schumer’s move “a grave disservice” that made the semiconductor bill “a political issue,” but ultimately decided to support the measure for national security purposes.
“I’m gonna vote for what’s right for the country and national security,” he said.
Cole, the vice ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said he voted for the bill to keep China “at bay” and to safeguard the U.S.’s economic and security interests.
“Although this is not a perfect bill and not the one I would have written, it is a step in the right direction toward keeping Communist China at bay and protecting our nation’s economic and security interests,” the Oklahoma Republican said in a statement following the vote.
“At a time when China is becoming increasingly aggressive and dangerously trying to command the world order, the CHIPS and Science Act importantly strengthens America’s global competitiveness by investing in our nation’s semiconductor industry and encouraging manufacturing of those critical pieces of technology domestically. We must secure our industries from foreign adversaries, and that is exactly what this legislation achieves,” he added.
Johnson, McKinley and Meijer also referenced China in their statements explaining their support for the bill.
Eight Republican members of the Ohio congressional delegation supported the bill, likely because of an investment Intel is making in the Buckeye State.
The semiconductor company announced in January that it would invest $20 million to build two new chip factories in Ohio, but it delayed those plans as a way to protest for Congress to pass a chips bill. The company said “the scope and pace” of the building in Ohio hinged on congressional funding.
Balderson appeared to reference that project in a statement regarding his vote for the measure.
“My vote in favor of the CHIPS Act was a vote to support a one-in-a-lifetime investment in Ohio; protect critical national security interests; and provide opportunities for the people I represent by bringing good-paying jobs back to America,” he wrote.
“This bill was far from perfect. But my constituents sent me to Washington to tend to the serious business of representing their interests — and to get the job done. As a result of this investment, the future is brighter for kids in Ohio today,” he added.
Katko, who is retiring at the end of this term, said the legislation “has the potential to bring transformational investments to my district in central New York, and will take long overdue steps to shore up our domestic supply chain for semiconductors.”
Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-N.Y.), who is also retiring at the end of his term, said in a statement that the bill will make it possible for the U.S. to “‘re-shore’ chip manufacturing and bolster domestic production,” arguing that the U.S. has an “overdependence on China.”
Kim in a statement said the legislation will “expand opportunities for all Americans and protect our national security,” among other provisions, writing that the U.S. “must be able to keep our country running.”
Upton, who is not seeking reelection this year, said the bill represents “a big win to bring production and jobs from overseas back home to the United States,” adding in a statement that it is “a matter of national security.”
Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), who is the granddaughter of the founder of Qualcomm, a semiconductor company, voted present to avoid a conflict of interest, according to her communications director.
“The CHIPS-plus package is a big win for the country, and especially for the San Diego region, which will benefit immensely from increased investments in innovation and American manufacturing. After consulting with the House Ethics Committee, Congresswoman Jacobs voted ‘present’ in order to maintain the highest level of transparency and ethical standards and to prevent a personal conflict of interest regarding the content of the bill,” Jacobs’s communications director told The Hill in a statement.