Guidelines for computer chip federal grants receive pushback on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — From your smartphone and TV to even your washing machine, you can find semiconductors in almost everything you own.


Right now, the Biden Administration is accepting applications from companies that want federal money to build factories to make semiconductors.

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Part of the Bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act includes $39 billion in federal grants for those projects nationwide.

This month, the Biden Administration outlined several requirements for companies that want this money. Those includes encouraging recipients to work with labor unions and government organizations and even requiring some to work with community groups to offer child care.

“They have to make commitments about how they treat their workers, about the kinds of corporate practices that they engage in, and even make commitments about making sure that workers will have access to affordable childcare,” said Bharat Ramamurt, deputy director of the National Economic Council at the White House.

He said these requirements are intended to help attract a diverse workforce – in particular more women.

“One of the things that we see in the survey data time and time again, is a reason that women are not choosing to participate in the workforce is because the cost of childcare is too expensive,” said Ramamurt.

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But Republican Senators are now accusing the Biden Administration of using this federal funding to pursue what they call “controversial policies.”

North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis and three other Republicans sent this letter to the Department of Commerce about it this month. They want those requirements removed because they argue it would reduce these jobs.

In a written statement to the Washington News Bureau, Senator Tillis said “It’s reckless for the Biden Administration to try to impose a partisan mandate that threatens the goal of the CHIPS Act.”

But the White House says these guidelines are also about transparency.

“There’s going to be a lot of reporting that the companies have to do to show that they’re meeting all the requirements that we put into those grant agreements,” said Ramamurt.

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The Biden administration says companies with approved plans will be announced this summer.

Below is the full statement from Senator Thom Tillis, R – North Carolina:

“I supported the CHIPS Act because it made a much-needed investment to bolster American innovation and strengthen our ability to counter the growing threats posed by Communist China. It’s reckless for the Biden Administration to try to impose a partisan mandate that threatens the goal of the CHIPS Act to expand America’s semiconductor manufacturing capacity, which is why I’ve called for the administration to immediately reverse course.”

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