Cantwell, Raimondo Stress National Urgency to Pass USICA, Address U.S. Chip Crisis

April 27, 2022

United States in global race as other nations lure U.S. semiconductor manufacturers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Department of Commerce (DOC) Secretary Gina Raimondo stressed the national urgency for Congress to send innovation and competition legislation to the President's desk and unleash investment in U.S. semiconductor manufacturing as other nations continue to invest heavily to expand chip production. The call for action came during today’s hearing on the Department’s FY 2023 budget.

“If the USICA would pass, [DOC] would receive $52 billion in funding to help us with this CHIPS supply chain shortage…and our competitiveness in this area,” Sen. Cantwell said.  “We had a hearing before we left for recess with many of the chip manufacturers in the United States and they told us that we didn’t have time to wait.” 

“I don't think it's an exaggeration to say this is a national emergency, it is threatening our national security, as well as our economic security,” said Sec. Raimondo. “It has to happen now. And if you want these companies…to expand facilities in America, you must pass the CHIPS act, USICA and do it quickly.”


Cantwell addressed how the pandemic and Russia’s attack on Ukraine have further exposed vulnerabilities in the U.S. supply chain and exacerbated the semiconductor shortage.  The senator stressed that USICA’s $52 billion investment in domestic semiconductor manufacturing is critical to keeping companies here in the United States, as other countries continue to invest heavily in expansion. 

“The faster [other countries] move, the more the money follows,” said Sen. Cantwell. “I just hope that people realize that the longer we wait, the longer we don't send that signal, the more that initial investment may not go to Ohio, it may go over to Germany or someplace else.”

“You’re exactly right. Germany, Singapore, Spain, France, obviously China, are all right now, right now, wooing Intel, Micron, Texas Instruments, all of our companies to set up facilities in their countries,” said Sec. Raimondo. “I have spoken with all of these CEOs. They want to operate in America, but they cannot wait. Because demand for chips is up 20% where it was a couple of years ago. They are going to build. And if we don't act quickly with USICA, they'll build elsewhere.”

Cantwell, a champion of the USICA legislation, has repeatedly called for Congress to act on bipartisan legislation. Ahead of the Senate vote that set the stage for the conference committee, Cantwell urged her colleagues to come to the table to negotiate a final bill. On March 24, she spoke on the Senate floor about the impact the semiconductor supply chain shortage is having on the price of used cars. The senator also chaired a Commerce Committee hearing with tech CEOs on the importance of CHIPS legislation, to invest in America’s domestic semiconductor manufacturing. Previously, Sen. Cantwell joined Majority Leader Schumer at a press conference and delivered remarks on the Senate floor about the urgency to appoint a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills.

President Biden included investments in key Commerce Dept. priorities when he submitted his budget proposal to Congress last month, including provisions about investing in domestic chip manufacturing. Sec. Raimondo explained how the proposed Commerce budget would focus on 6 key areas of investment: strengthen the nation’s supply chain by investing in domestic manufacturing; compete globally and protect national security; focus on equitable and inclusive economic growth for all Americans; take historic action to combat the climate crisis; expand opportunities through Census Bureau data; provide 21st century cybersecurity and workforce service to the American public.

The Department of Commerce’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposal includes $11.7 billion in discretionary funding, approximately $2.7 billion more than the department received in FY 2021. The FY 2023 Budget would aim to reinvest in foundational initiatives to set the American economy and the American worker up for success, working to address domestic and global challenges around innovation, supply chain resiliency, climate change, economic growth and security, and economic equity. The proposal includes priorities for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Minority Business Development Agency, and the Economic Development Administration.

View Senator Cantwell’s opening statement Video and Transcript.

View Senator Cantwell’s question and answer Video and Transcript.