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posted by martyb on Wednesday June 09, @01:36PM   Printer-friendly
from the sausagemaking dept.

Senate passes billions for tech in U.S. Innovation and Competition Act

The Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, formerly known as the Endless Frontier Act, Tuesday. The bill approves hundreds of billions of dollars in spending for science and technology at a range of government agencies, as well as $52 billion for chip manufacturing. The heavily debated and amended bill now heads to the House, where it faces an uphill battle against key Democrats who have, up to this point, vocally opposed it.

[...] Senators attached a slew of new provisions to benefit certain sectors of the tech industry, including appropriating $52 billion to boost chip manufacturing in the U.S. Another amendment would add $10 billion for NASA's lunar landing program, a provision Sen. Bernie Sanders called "welfare to Mr. [Jeff] Bezos," who owns the space company Blue Origin.

The semiconductor industry applauded the bill upon its passage. "Senate passage of USICA is a pivotal step toward strengthening U.S. semiconductor production and innovation and an indication of the strong, bipartisan support in Washington for ensuring sustained American leadership in science and technology," John Neuffer, CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association, said in a statement.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar also managed to squeeze in an antitrust provision that would increase filing fees for large mergers.

The final bill includes a litany of oddball items vaguely linked to China — from a prohibition on the sale of shark fins to an exemption on country of origin labeling for cooked king crab. By the time it passed, the bill stretched more than 2,000 pages long.

The mad rush to stuff the bill full of tangential amendments was as good a sign as any early on that the law could actually pass the Senate. But it faces a bigger challenge in the House, where Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, could block its advancement. Johnson has written publicly about her opposition to the Endless Frontier Act, arguing that it creates a "'shiny new object' that gets the attention of policymakers to the detriment of NSF's fundamental research mission."

Also at CNBC, The Verge, The Guardian, and USA Today.


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by crafoo on Wednesday June 09, @02:36PM (8 children)

    by crafoo (6639) on Wednesday June 09, @02:36PM (#1143528)

    Handing out money no one has, produced by inflation your average american is no prepared for is the height of irresponsibility. Maybe take a hard, practical look at existing laws and regulatory bodies and really think about their existence. Are they an actual net benefit to the environment, economy, peoples' lives?

    But no. Let's buy votes instead with money we don't have.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @02:48PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @02:48PM (#1143533)

    It's all good until the plebes realize a dollar now only buys 70 cents worth of goods.
    One of the most evil and therefore popular for the govt aspects of inflation is that it makes it "possible" for the government to pay back (snicker!) its debts, so long as they force the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates close to zero. Due to inflation, you take in more (somewhat worthless, but high denomination) tax dollars, so you can easily "pay back" the debt (well, part of it) so you can borrow even more!

    This is how Third World governments operate, and people are stupid to think we can't crash our own economy this way.

    • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Wednesday June 09, @03:18PM (3 children)

      by RS3 (6367) on Wednesday June 09, @03:18PM (#1143543)

      That sounds like a Ponzi scheme. They're not legal now, are they?

      (Sorry for the sarcasm / cynicism; inflation is pretty much a given in any even slightly free-market economic system, greed being a thing and all...)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @05:19PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @05:19PM (#1143597)

        There is low inflation (under 3% a year), and then there is oh shit inflation from Carter's presidency. The first is tolerable, the second, not.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @07:45PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @07:45PM (#1143666)

          It started under Nixon, due to the profligate spending on the lost Vietnam war and the space race.

        • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Wednesday June 09, @08:07PM

          by fustakrakich (6150) on Wednesday June 09, @08:07PM (#1143685) Journal

          then there is oh shit inflation from Carter's presidency...

          Guess you weren't around in '73 [youtube.com]

          --
          Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @03:14PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @03:14PM (#1143541)

    It's not a big problem for the US people IF they get a decent share of the created US dollars. That's a big IF there though.

    Because with the Petro Dollar as long as the rest of the world is using/holding trillions of US dollars they are living in the USA's "Zimbabwe".

    When the US Gov ("US Mugabe") creates dollars, the US people who have net positive amounts of USD get poorer BUT the rest of the world also becomes poorer (that's including China who is owed trillions in USD, and is paid by the world in USD and holds lots of USD to buy oil, soybeans and zillions of other stuff that's priced in USD).

    But if the US people get a lot more of the created dollars than the rest of the world then the US people actually become richer relatively to the rest of the world.

    So if you're a US citizen and you're getting some of that pork then it's working out for you.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday June 09, @03:17PM (1 child)

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday June 09, @03:17PM (#1143542) Journal

    Well there is expected to be significant Democratic pushback to this bill in the House so we'll see how it plays out.

    Personally I'm generally in favor of funding basic research that isn't profitable (yet) to the private sector. But some of the line items that got added to the Senate version are definitely concerning. Bans on shark fins but exemptions to labeling requirements for king crab? Yeah....hopefully the House strips that nonsense out.

    • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Wednesday June 09, @08:01PM

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Wednesday June 09, @08:01PM (#1143677) Journal

      hopefully the House strips that nonsense out.

      Do you know who put it in? Let's hear some names, and see if they sound familiar or not.

      --
      Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM