By Bill Yeargin
Many people don’t realize how close the pandemic and related supply chain issues have come to both shutting down the U.S. economy and putting our national security at significant risk. And the risk was largely related to semiconductor chips.
92% of semiconductor chips are made outside the U.S., and these chips are in almost everything. According to the auto industry, there are nearly 250 chips in every car. Without these chips, our economy grinds to a halt. And this is not just a supply chain issue; it is a serious national security issue.
The Biden administration is asking Congress to quickly pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act, which is the Conference Committee bill to reconcile the House’s America Competes Act and the Senate’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. The Bipartisan Innovation Act would make significant investments to fix the U.S. chip dependency problem. The Act is bipartisan, with supporters such as Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer and conservative Indiana Senator Todd Young.
China had the foresight to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in chip production and today could strike a serious blow to the U.S. by banning chip exports to our country. For the U.S. economy and national security to be so dependent on China makes no sense, and the Bipartisan Innovation Act would take a big step toward mitigating that risk.
Other smart elements included in the Bipartisan Innovation Act include regional innovation hubs, apprenticeship funding, and some refining of the 301-tariff exclusion process. There is also a possibility the Senate and House Conference Committee will use it to reinstate the R&D tax credit.
I am writing this article in Washington DC, and earlier today was in a meeting with a member of the White House team to discuss this Act. The Administration has a high urgency around getting the Act passed by June so the president can sign it this summer.
After spending many years in Washington DC working with three administrations and several Congresses, I fully understand how powerful politics can be. However, we need both parties, the business community, and all Americans to join and protect our country from a significant economic and security risk. Passing the Bipartisan Innovation Act would help us mitigate that risk; the sooner we move forward, the better.
Bill Yeargin is CEO of Correct Craft and author of the best-selling book Education of a CEO.