CHIPS: The China syndrome

The ginormous CHIPS Act has grown like Topsy into a $250 billion bill with a little help from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Touted as a benefit to American national security, not just another case of corporate welfare or crony capitalism, the Act is slated to pass the Senate this week. The Free Beacon’s Joe Simonson reports on developments that might affect this assessment:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) removed an anti-China security measure from a bill that invests billions of dollars in the U.S. technology sector, a move Republicans say would allow China to benefit from the spending bill and could kneecap the legislation.

At issue are provisions written by Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) that bar U.S. companies from manufacturing products in China, such as semiconductors, that were developed using federally funded research. Myriad government and private investigations conclude that the Chinese government routinely steals trade secrets from U.S. companies, government agencies, and universities.

Schumer earlier this month removed Portman’s provisions from the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act, throwing a wrench into the vote for Republicans who were under the impression it would be included and planned to vote for the bill, according to multiple interviews and internal documents viewed by the Washington Free Beacon.

As always, one can draw his own inferences from Schumer’s response to Simonson’s inquiry: “Schumer did not respond to a request for comment.” Simonson has done some digging to try to figure out what it’s all about, but it’s still not exactly clear. Simonson’s story here is worth reading in its entirety.

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