Senate GOP leaders are continuing to press Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to drop a so-called reconciliation bill to pave the way for long-delayed computer chips bill, aimed to make U.S. automakers and others less reliant on China's technology.
The chips bill initially passed Senate with bipartisan support in June 2021.
However, about eight months later, the Democratic-led House passed its own version of the legislation, known as the America COMPETES Act, which included the $52 billion for semiconductor manufacturers that was also part of the Senate bill.
The House version included other measures that were not part of the Senate bill.
A conference committee is still working on reconciling the pieces of the legislation to produce a final product. At the same time, Democratic leaders are considering passage of a budget reconciliation bill incorporating parts of President Biden's $2 trillion Build Back Better legislation that failed to pass last year due to opposition from Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
Using the budget reconciliation tool would allow Democrats to pass the bill without relying on votes from Republicans.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate GOP Whip John Cornyn are calling on Schumer and Democratic leaders to stop their push for the reconciliation bill if they want the chips bill to pass.
Cornyn said on the Senate floor that Schumer has "tossed a grenade into the end zone" with his desire to pass a "social welfare bill," which he described on Tuesday as the "Build Back Broke" legislation.
Meanwhile, the price of new and used vehicles continue to skyrocket, due in part to the computer chip shortage. Monthly car payments have hit a record high.
Intel, the National Association of Manufactures and others have called on Congress to pass a chips bill as soon as possible.