Commerce secretary on boosting U.S. semiconductor production: ‘We’re going to get it done’

Business

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Tuesday expressed confidence around the Biden administration’s efforts to increase semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S.

In an interview on CNBC’s “Mad Money,” Raimondo said the global chip shortage that’s rattled a range of industries demonstrates the need for America to boost domestic production capacity and once again become a leader. Asian countries, particularly Taiwan, have come to dominate the industry.

“We are going to get it done. There’s no option,” Raimondo told host Jim Cramer. “When the semiconductor supply chain is disrupted, the economy is disrupted.”

“They’re in your dishwasher, your car, your computer, your headset, your phone, military equipment. So, yes, we’re going to get it done,” she added, describing it as both an economic and national security imperative.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, has put together the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 that would allocate $52 billion to support semiconductor manufacturing in the country, among other provisions.

While Democrats and Republicans are still hashing out disagreements over certain components of the bill, there is bipartisan support for tackling the set of issues it covers.

Raimondo said she hopes it passes the upper chamber “in the coming days,” offering an optimistic timeline similar to Schumer. “This cannot wait,” said Raimondo, who served as governor of Rhode Island before leading the Commerce Department.

“This requires emergency appropriation … and I believe that there is the will in the Congress to make that happen,” she added.

Raimondo also weighed in on the potential infrastructure proposal a group of Senate Republicans plan to offer as a counter to President Joe Biden’s plan. Raimondo has taken part in some of the negotiations in Washington.

“I don’t know what’s in the offer. We have to see if it’s real, but the very fact that we’re still talking and they’re coming back with, potentially, a $1 trillion deal is progress for sure,” she said.

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