24 House Republicans break with leadership, vote with Democrats to pass computer chip bill
Another major legislative victory for Democrats came Thursday when -- despite Republican objections to "corporate welfare" -- a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives passed legislation providing billions in funding for the country's science and technology industry to boost domestic production of key semiconductor chips and additional research and development.
The bill vacated the chamber by a vote of 243-187 (including one "present" vote) despite late-hour forays into the legislation by GOP leadership. Twenty-four Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the measure, which is now going to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign.
One representative, Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-Calif., whose grandfather Irwin Jacobs founded semiconductor manufacturer Qualcomm, voted "present."
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"If you want to know who hates this law, who opposes it - the Chinese Communist Party. Why? Because they know it will help us run against them," Texas Rep. Mike McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a key supporter of the package, told reporters while criticizing other Republicans for that they were defying the law.
MORE: Country has major microchip problem — and Senate has $52 billion solution
Oklahoma Rep. Frank Dean Lucas, the senior GOP member on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, took a different view.
"Unfortunately, and it's more unfortunate than you can imagine, I will not be voting for [the chips bill]," he said. "This is one of those occasions when, as a statesman and responsible member of Congress, I must put aside my own pride in the work of the Science Committee and cast the vote that represents the best interests of Americans, and particularly the good people of the Third District of Oklahoma." ."
Supporters of the $280 billion proposal highlight the approximately $52 billion it will allocate to incentivize the creation of semiconductor plants, thereby boosting industry competitiveness in the United States at a time when countries are struggling like China dominate the sphere.
PHOTO: In this April 28, 2022 file photo, Rep. Michael McCaul walks the front steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. up (Bill Clark/CQ appeal via AP Images).
There is a serious shortage of these chips, which in the US serve as the "brains" of all sorts of technology, from phones to home appliances to cars and more.
Many House Republicans only backed the bill on Wednesday, before surprise news of an agreement between Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., focused on an expansionary spending bill on democratic priorities like climate, health care and corporate taxes.
Manchin had previously said he would not support climate and tax policies in the forthcoming spending package, citing inflation. But Wednesday's agreement, he said, would actually reduce the federal deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars.
MORE: Why the global chip shortage threatens the economy, national security and Americans' 'status quo'
Republicans were not pleased. Some had backed the microchip bill after believing Manchin's objections had derailed Democrats' spending plans. On Wednesday, just before Manchin publicly changed course, the Senate passed the chip bill 64-33 after more than a year of deadlock.
The Club for Growth, a Washington-based business organization, has continued to oppose the bill -- urging House Republicans to vote no in light of the Manchin-Schumer spending agreement that Senate Democrats hope to approve before the August recess.
"The House GOP should kill CHIPS now that 17 Senate GOPers have been played by Schumer & Manchin for reconciliation," Scott T. Parkinson, vice president of the Club for Growth, wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer meets with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, July 27, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
"I was a no last week, I was a no last night, and I'm going to be the first no on the board today," House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said on the floor Thursday and called the measure "corporate welfare."
The bill is also one of the most important national security directives for the White House. Trade Secretary Gina Raimondo briefed lawmakers earlier this month, calling its passage a "matter of urgency" and saying the country is "out of time" to act.
Biden issued a statement on the legislation shortly after it was approved by the House of Representatives, saying he "looks forward to signing this legislation into law."
“The CHIPS and Science Act is exactly what we need to do now to grow our economy. By making more semiconductors in the United States, this bill will increase domestic manufacturing and lower costs for families. And it will strengthen our national security by making us less dependent on foreign semiconductor sources," he said.
ABC News' Molly Nagle contributed to this report.
Republicans in the 24th House are breaking with leadership and voting with Democrats to pass the Computer Chip Act, originally posted on abcnews.go.com
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