Over the past few months, a global semiconductor shortage has constrained the supply of countless different products–from F-150s and Ford Broncos to Nintendo Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X consoles. With few signs that the shortage will ease on its own, the U.S. government is now one step closer to implementing legislation aimed at alleviating the constraints and improving the availability of the chips.
Called the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, the bill passed the Senate this week with unusual bipartisan support. 68 Senators voted for the bill compared to 32 against, easily clearing the 60-vote threshold necessary to avoid a filibuster. The bill allocates $52 billion for the semiconductor industry alone, in addition to an array of other investments in the technology industry. Over $200 billion is directed at technological initiatives in total.
The Senate just passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, including my Endless Frontier Act.
This legislation will set the United States on a path to out-innovate, out-produce, and out-compete the world in the industries of the future.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 8, 2021
The semiconductor shortage has been felt particularly acutely in the PC gaming space, as those looking to build new PCs or buy pre-built ones have had to contend with skyrocketing prices and extensive scarcity in GPU and CPU chips. This bill, if passed into law, may help with these constraints by focusing on building up semiconductor production capacity in the United States. Today, the vast majority of semiconductors are made in foundries in Southeast Asia.