Everyone now knows that the U.S. economy has suffered because of a lack of one very small type of item: computer microchips.
Manufacturing of everything from cars to electronic toys has slowed because interruptions caused by COVID-19 showed just how reliant U.S. firms were on chips made elsewhere, typically in Asia.
So the news that the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America fund passed both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives with bipartisan support has industry representatives cheering.
"For decades, the United States failed to nurture its own industrial capabilities. Critical production went overseas, leading to the loss of both middle-class jobs and the knowledge needed for advanced manufacturing," Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said when the CHIPS and Science Act passed the Senate.
The bill will provide $280 billion to subsidize domestic semiconductor manufacturing.
Companies have been lining up with plans to make semiconductors in the U.S., with facilities already planned in Ohio, Arizona and Texas.
But the AAM cautioned that more work must be done to protect U.S. manufacturing even as companies break ground on new plants.
"Now, this won't cause the semiconductor shortage to disappear overnight, and several caveats go along with receiving the money to establish facilities here in the U.S., but this is undoubtedly a huge step in the right direction," added Carla Bailo, president and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research, in an email following the House vote.