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US Senate mulls US$30 billion in funding to boost chipmaking sector, source says

US Senate mulls US$30 billion in funding to boost chipmaking sector, source says

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden holds a semiconductor chip as he speaks prior to signing an executive order, aimed at addressing a global semiconductor chip shortage, in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 24, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON: The US Senate is considering including US$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 US tech sector, to a full vote in April, the person said, declining to be named because the legislation has not been finalised.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said last month he had directed lawmakers to craft the legislation to counter China’s economic rise, capitalising 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 US$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 US 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.

Source: Reuters

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