On Monday, US Senator Bernie Sanders again took aim at the CHIPS Act, the bipartisan legislation proposed by the Vermont Independent noted that it contains tens of billions of dollars in “welfare” for tech giants – l Taxpayers’ money, he said, would be better spent on social betterment programs.
“The question we should be asking is, should US taxpayers provide the microchip industry with a blank check for over $76 billion?
“What the CHIPS bill represents is whether or not we will have priorities in this country that represent the needs of working families and the middle class, or whether this institution, the entire Congress, is totally beholden to the interests of wealthy and powerful corporations,” Sanders said Monday during a speech in the Senate.
The Associated press reports that the Senate was scheduled to vote on advancing the bill on Monday. However, stormy East Coast weather disrupted the travel plans of several lawmakers and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) said the vote would take place Tuesday morning. The House will resume the measure after the votes of the Senate.
“I don’t argue with those who say there is a global shortage of microchips and semiconductors, making it harder for manufacturers to produce the cars, cell phones, appliances and electronic equipment we need. need,” Sander continued. “This shortage is actually costing American workers well-paying jobs and raising prices for families. That’s why I personally strongly support efforts to expand microchip production in the United States.”
The senator continues:
The question we should be asking is: should American taxpayers provide the microchip industry with a blank check for more than $76 billion at the same time that semiconductor companies are making tens of billions? dollars in profits and pay their CEOs exorbitant salaries? .. I think the answer to this question is a resounding no. It is an extremely profitable industry.
For $76 billion, we could expand Medicare to provide seniors with the high-quality hearing aids and glasses they desperately need. And for a little more we could also provide dental care. For $76 billion, we could end homelessness in America and create well-paying jobs from Maine to California by building hundreds of thousands of affordable rental units. For $76 billion, we could make every community college in America free for the next seven years. And so on.
Sanders’ speech came days after the two-time Socialist Democratic presidential nominee introduced an amendment to the CHIPS Act that would impose restrictions on the billions of dollars in federal grants and tax credits that Congress is on the hook. point of granting the already burgeoning American microchip industry.
Some critics have noted that lawmakers pushing for passage of the CHIPS Act have apparent pecuniary conflicts of interest. For example, the husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) bought up to $5 million in Silicon Valley software and shares in chipmaker Nvidia ahead of the expected vote on the CHIPS Act. .
“When signed into law, the impacts of this bipartisan chip and innovation bill will last for years, if not decades,” Schumer said Monday in the Senate. “It will mean more American jobs, more manufacturing here at home, relief for our supply chains, and lower costs for the American people.”
However, Sanders argued that “at a time when working families in this country are falling further and further behind while the very wealthy are getting much richer, let’s get our priorities straight.”
“Not only would this bill provide benefits to profitable American companies, but we would literally be handing over American taxpayers’ money to companies owned or controlled by other countries,” he continued.
“If private companies are to benefit from generous taxpayer subsidies, the financial gains made by these companies must be shared with the American people, not just wealthy shareholders,” Sanders added. “In other words, if the microchip companies are making a profit from these federal subsidies, the taxpayers of this country are entitled to a reasonable return on that investment.”
“Conclusion: Let’s rebuild America’s microchip industry,” he argued, “but let’s do it in a way that benefits our whole society, not just a handful of wealthy, profitable, and powerful corporations.” .