If you have shopped for a car lately, you are almost certainly wondering why prices are so much higher than just a year ago. One reason: the global semiconductor shortage, which is affecting every corner of our economy.
In a Wednesday letter to the leaders of both the Senate and House, top executives with companies including Apple, General Motors, Google, IBM, and Verizon urged prompt action on the global semiconductor shortage.
They wrote in part, “Semiconductors are essential to virtually all sectors of the economy. … Demand for these critical components has outstripped supply, creating a global chip shortage and resulting in lost growth and jobs in the economy.” Specifically, they called on Congress to get “bipartisan initiatives” like full funding of the CHIPS for America Act “across the finish line this year.”
That bipartisan policy, which will invest tens of billions of dollars in semiconductor manufacturing incentives and research initiatives over a decade, became law as part of last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). But Congress still needs to approve the actual funding for it. Last month, House Problem Solvers Caucus leaders and their Senate allies stressed the importance of funding the Act to support the workers and industries that have been adversely impacted by the semiconductor shortage.
There are bipartisan efforts on several tracks aimed at bolstering the U.S. technology sector and confronting supply-chain woes. The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which would authorize $110 billion for basic and advanced technology research over a five-year period, may be rolled into this year’s NDAA. And the Problem Solvers have officially endorsed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021, a bipartisan bill aimed at reducing the trade imbalance with China and supporting U.S. exports.