The America Competes Act (section-by-section summary) was introduced Tuesday and could be considered in the House as soon as next week. The legislation is the House companion bill to the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which was approved by the Senate last year with NAM support.

The House of Representatives unveiled a bill yesterday designed to bolster U.S. semiconductor manufacturing and take steps to level the playing field in competition with China, according to CNBC.

What it is: The America COMPETES Act is the $250 billion response to the Senate version, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, passed in June.

  • The House iteration totals $200 billion less than the Senate version and reprioritizes federal investments in “U.S. scientific research and technological innovation.”
  • Passage of the House bill is anticipated before March 1.

What’s in it: “The House version includes $45 billion to support supply-chain resilience and improve the nation’s economy ‘by preventing shortages of critical goods.’ That provision would subsidize the domestic production of critical goods and industrial machinery to ensure the U.S. could maintain smooth supply-chain operations if global trading routes were disrupted.”

  • The bill also contains $50.2 billion to incentivize domestic investment in facilities for fabrication, assembly, testing or advanced packaging of semiconductors or to support semiconductor R&D.

Why it matters: Numerous industries have been hard hit by the semiconductor shortage, which has hamstrung production of final product items such as medical devices, cars, phones and components for utilities and HVAC systems.

  • Higher-than-average absenteeism due to COVID-19 variants continues to exacerbate an already tight labor market. The America COMPETES Act legislation provides for tools to bolster workforce needs.
  • “Together, we have an opportunity to show China and the rest of the world that the 21st century will be the American century—forged by the ingenuity and hard work of our innovators, workers, and businesses,” President Biden said.

The NAM’s take: “The introduction of the America COMPETES Act, which includes many components of the overwhelmingly bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, is a major step forward, and lawmakers can feel confident that supporting this bill means supporting the future of manufacturing in America,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

“This legislation would strengthen U.S. leadership in global climate innovation, improve environmental research and fill critical gaps in data—all while holding China accountable as the world’s biggest emitter. Manufacturers look forward to working with Congress on all elements of this legislation to ensure it meets the needs of our industry and supports America’s manufacturing workers and American families by putting the United States in a much stronger competitive position toward China. We will work to get it passed through the House and then work with the Senate to ensure that final legislation achieves the critical shared goals of this bill and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and makes it to the president’s desk.”