Schumer pushes bill to boost domestic chip production though key Republican casts doubt

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The source said Schumer, a Democrat from New York, is telling senators it could head to the floor as soon as Tuesday, but Senate Republican Whip John Thune, a member of GOP leadership, cast doubts on that plan, warning he’s not sure if Republicans would provide the 10 or so votes needed to break a filibuster.

“We’re at a point where no one knows what the final bill might look like or kind of where the votes are,” Thune told reporters in the Capitol. “We know where the votes were last time but that was a different time and it was a different bill than what we’re talking about today.”

The bill would be a scaled back version of the larger China competitiveness legislation, which has been hung up amid intraparty disputes and the threat of Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell derailing it if Democrats move forward with a separate partisan economic package.

Republican leaders have previously said they’d be open to passing a narrow bill that focuses mainly on the issue of producing semiconductor chips, but on Thursday, Thune blamed Democrats for mishandling the chips legislation.

The Republican from South Dakota said Democrats in the House “held it up over there for almost a year and then when they did eventually act on it they loaded it up with a bunch of extraneous stuff they knew they couldn’t pass over here.”

“There was a Republican support for the original bill in the Senate but it will depend a lot on what’s in it. And we just don’t know. They’ve got ball control on that,” he said about the Democrats who control the chamber.

The fight comes as the Biden administration has ramped up pressure on Congress to act on the chip legislation before lawmakers leave in the coming weeks for summer recess.

Earlier Thursday, Schumer had said senators would move a bill that could include, “at a minimum — the emergency funding for CHIPS and the investment tax credit from the FABS Act,” which stands for the Facilitating American-Built Semiconductors, according to the source. Schumer also indicated more elements could be added if there is agreement.

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments Thursday.