WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. senators and Senate Auto Caucus co-chairs Rob Portman, R-OH, and Sherrod Brown, D-OH, sent a letter to House and Senate leaders urging swift passage of revised bipartisan legislation to invest in manufacturing and address the global semiconductor shortage facing auto manufacturing.

This includes the passage of bipartisan legislation like the CHIPS For America Act, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), and the inclusion of Portman and Brown’s Leveling the Playing Field 2.0 Act.

“The need for this funding is self-evident: over the summer, General Motors, Ford, and other automotive companies announced short-term plant closures in Lima and Toledo, in many cases due to pandemic-related production issues at overseas manufacturers of automotive-grade chips,” wrote the senators. “In light of the far-reaching consequences for our nation’s economy and national security, there is bipartisan consensus in favor of funding the CHIPS for America Act to catalyze new semiconductor investments in the United States – we should move quickly to ensconce that consensus in law.”

It was reported Congress has already provided a bipartisan solution to strengthen U.S. competitiveness by including the CHIPS for America Act in the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. The bipartisan USICA – which includes key provisions – will provide more than $50 billion to fully implement this important program.

In June, the Senate passed USICA, with the goal to invest in American workers and the nation’s long-term competitiveness by shoring up critical industries like semiconductors, which are facing a global shortage. All sectors of the economy need access to semiconductor chips; however, the need is particularly significant for the domestic auto industry. Today’s cars include high-end electronic components that improve vehicle efficiency and safety, and these electronic components rely upon semiconductors to function.

Portman and Brown have been working to secure solutions for the semiconductor crisis for months. The senators led colleagues in sending a letter to Brian Deese, Director of the National Economic Council, in February, urging the administration to support efforts to secure the necessary funding to swiftly implement the semiconductor-related provisions in the most recent NDAA, to boost semiconductor manufacturing and incentivize the domestic production of semiconductors in the future.

In April, Portman and Brown introduced the Leveling the Playing Field 2.0 Act, bipartisan legislation to strengthen U.S. trade remedy laws and ensure they remain effective tools to fight back against unfair trade practices and protect American workers. The Senators’ legislation would establish the new concept of “successive investigations” to improve the effectiveness of the U.S. trade remedy system in responding to repeat offenders and serial cheaters, helping to level the playing field for American workers. Reps. Terri Sewell, D-AL, and Bill Johnson, R-OH, introduced companion legislation in the House.

(Information courtesy of the office of Sen. Rob Portman.)

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