Rick Scott: CHIPS bill would lead to 'more inflation and more deficit spending'
"There's no return for the taxpayer," Florida Republican senator says of the China competition bill.
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The China competition bill with $52 billion in federal grant funding for computer chipmakers would lead to more inflation and deficit spending, Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott warned on Wednesday.
The federal deficit in FY2021 was $2.8 trillion, and the national debt is over $30 trillion.
"A vote for the CHIPS bill is a vote for more inflation and more deficit spending," Scott told Just the News, noting June's 9.1% inflation rate. "I believe in accountability. There's no accountability. There's no return for the taxpayer."
The Senate passed a China competition bill with funding for chip makers in June 2021 that also included about $200 billion for scientific and technological research. House Democrats passed their own version in early 2022. The legislation has been hung up in conference committee negotiations. The Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America (CHIPS) Act, a revised version of the Senate bill, passed a procedural vote in the Senate 64-34 on Tuesday. The provisions of the legislation are still being negotiated.
Supporters of the bill argue that increasing domestic semiconductor manufacturing is essential to U.S. national security.
Scott said he opposed the revised bill, in part because the U.S. Commerce Department gets to decide which companies receive the taxpayer funding. Large corporations like Intel are strong supporters of the bill.
"We give money to build something," said Scott at the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit. "We give them a tax deduction for building something, and we give them a tax credit for building something. What does the taxpayer in this country get? Why don't we do something that actually guarantees that we're going to produce [the chips] here? And why can these companies still produce in China? And when China invades Taiwan, why don't they have to stop doing business in China?"
With the price of new and used cars skyrocketing during the global chip shortage, Scott was asked if he would support a "clean" bill containing only the $52 billion for chipmakers to bolster production in the U.S. and better compete with China.
"Who's going to pay the taxes for it?" he asked. "It's not like it's free. I mean, it's not just the $52 billion, we're giving tax credits, and they get a tax deduction. They get all these things, and what's the taxpayer get for it? There's no return for the taxpayer."
Just the News asked Scott if there's something else Congress can do that would help bring down the price of automobiles in the absence of the CHIPS bill.
"They've got to figure out how to do business with who can actually produce," he replied.
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio also said he's opposed to the CHIPS bill because it lacks a provision that would bar companies that receive the taxpayer funding from producing computer chips in other countries.