New Mexico lawmaker touts new ‘CHIPS-plus’ bill

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. –A bill was passed by the Senate Wednesday could bring more chips to the Land of Enchantment.

“During COVID, we saw a decline in availability of microchips of chips, and everyday tools that we use, like our phones, or you know, even video gaming devices, things of that nature. But think of the many vehicles that are stuck on lots that have been made in the United States. But they’re missing one component, a microchip, and that’s why they’re not able to function,”said state Sen. Ben Ray Luján.

The United States once owned about 37% of chip manufacturing globally. 

“We’re now approaching 12%. So it’s reduced dramatically,” said Luján.

A bill that passed the U.S. Senate Wednesday morning could change that.

“The yeas are 64, the nays are 33, and the motion to concur with an amendment is agreed to.”

“So this legislation provides more investment in encouraging expansion in chip facilities. Think of Intel in Rio Rancho in New Mexico, and built around their recent announcement of over $3 billion, which will mean more job creation and opportunities at the plant in New Mexico,” Luján said. 

CHIPS-plus includes more than $50 billion for semiconductor manufacturing and research in the U.S. and billions more for our national labs.

“It will create more opportunities at Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs as well. And it will attract more public capital and financing, to work with entrepreneurs from our labs to be able to create small business opportunities,” said Luján.

Supporters argue that making more microchips at home for weapons and military equipment would help to eliminate national security threats. It would also help the United States keep up with other countries.

“If there’s one thing, again, that we learned during COVID, it’s that the United States was dependent on others, especially the government of China, for what they had done to grow chip manufacturing in their state,” said Luján.

The Congressional Budget Office said CHIPS-plus would cost nearly $80 billion over the next decade.

The House could take this legislation up as soon as next week.