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Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Passage of the America COMPETES Act


I want to thank the House of Representatives for passing the America COMPETES Act today. This bill is essential to our economy, our workers, and will unleash the next generation on innovation and scientific advancement in the United States.

In particular, I want to recognize Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, and Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson for their efforts in getting this bill over the finish line.

Now that separate versions of the bill have passed both the House and the Senate, I’m urging Congress to move quickly to begin negotiations and work out the differences between the bills, focus on areas of common agreement, and get a final version to President Biden’s desk for his signature.

This legislation will authorize historic investments in critical science and engineering research. It represents the sort of transformational investments in research and development that will power the U.S. to continue leading the global economy in the 21st century.

The bill also creates a Critical Supply Chain Resilience Program to monitor and address vulnerabilities in our domestic supply chains, which would be housed at the Department of Commerce.

With this authority, Commerce would have more tools to address current problems and strengthen the U.S. supply chain against future shocks. We will be able to address known supply chain risks in critical products, better foresee and avoid future risks, and address the underlying long-term factors that make critical U.S. supply chains fragile. 

Crucially, both the America COMPETES Act and the Senate’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act would invest $52 billion in domestic semiconductor production. I cannot overstate how important this funding is to revitalizing our domestic semiconductor manufacturing.

While we have seen several encouraging developments on semiconductors – like Intel’s announcement that it plans to build what could be the world’s largest semiconductor facility in Ohio – the semiconductor supply chain remains fragile.

We need federal funding to address this shortage because we cannot stimulate American manufacturing without it. Companies will build their facilities in countries that are creating incentives—even if those countries aren’t the US—if we fail to pass this funding now.

Companies like Samsung and Intel have indicated that their investments are predicated on passage of this chips funding. In the case of Intel, they’ve been very clear that their $20 billion investment could turn into investments of $100 billion.

But only if we pass the funding for the CHIPs Act.

And I can’t tell you how much our chips shortage is having ripple effects throughout the economy.

As many of you know, last year, auto prices drove one-third of all inflation, primarily because we don’t have enough chips.

The auto industry made 8 million fewer cars than expected because of the chip shortage, costing them $210 billion in revenue.

Some estimates show that our annual GDP growth would have been an entire percentage point higher, were it not for this shortage.

It is both an economic and national security imperative to solve this crisis.

In 2021, the Department of Commerce issued a voluntary Request for Information to help us identify the bottlenecks in the global chips supply chain.

We identified some key findings from the RFI last week.

Demand for chips in 2021 is running 17% higher than 2019 demand. Most fabs are running at more than 90% utilization, meaning we can’t create the supply to meet that demand until we get more fabs up and running. And the median inventory of chips has fallen from 40 days in 2019 to less than five days.

That means if a COVID outbreak, a natural disaster, or political instability disrupts a foreign semiconductor facility for even just a few weeks, it has the potential shut down a manufacturing facility in the U.S., putting American workers and their families at risk.

Just today, Ford announced that its assembly plants in Chicago and Wayne, Michigan will be idled through next week due to the global chip shortage.

This will affect real families here in America.

Every day we wait is a day we fall further behind.

I also know that many Republicans had their reasons for opposing this bill, but I would ask them to come back to the negotiating table and help us get this done.

This is too important to get tied up in process.

Several Republican members were crucial in getting both the House and Senate bills to where they are today. I have talked to many of them this week even when it was clear they would oppose the House bill because we want their input and help so that the final version can pass with overwhelming support.

Getting this bill signed into law will create good jobs, rebuild American manufacturing, and strengthen our supply chains here at home for decades to come.