Congress has voted to advance the CHIPS bill, which is designed to boost American semiconductor manufacturing. The bipartisan bill passed the Senate, 64-33, and the House of Representatives, 243-187, and will pave the way for providing billions of dollars over time in various incentives for U.S-based chip making and other science initiatives.

In the Senate, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., voted yes. U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., voted no. It now goes to President Biden to be signed into law.

Here is the essence of a letter from the Tech Council urging passage:

“This overdue commitment to domestic chip manufacturing will reverse a potentially threatening trend, which is the U.S. is producing an increasingly smaller percentage of the semiconductors we rely on for our economic and national security.

In fact, the share of modern semiconductor manufacturing capacity located in the United States has fallen from 37 percent in 1990 to 12 percent today – even while computer chips are playing a more important role in our everyday lives. With the No. 1 producer being Taiwan, it is easy to see there are security concerns.

The CHIPS-plus proposal appears to have universal support from high-tech companies ranging in consumer, medical and aviation sectors, as well as the backing of the U.S. Chamber, the Business Roundtable and the Semiconductor Industry Association.

The semiconductor industry creates good, high-paying jobs, with average salaries around 40 percent higher than the average American salary.  Estimates suggest the CHIPS-plus Act would help create 185,000 jobs and inject $24.6 billion into the economy by 2027.  As you know, Wisconsin was recently close to landing a chip manufacturing plant. Investment from the CHIPS-plus Act may yet help make that happen someday.”