Blockchain enthusiasts are buzzing over a new piece of legislation that will create the role of a blockchain advisor to the U.S. government. Titled the CHIPS and Science Act, the bill has scaled the congressional hurdle as it was voted 243-147 on Thursday.
All that is left is the signature from President Joe Biden, with commentators predicting that the next stage will be a mere formality. At its core, the bill aims to subsidize the manufacture of chips and semi-conductors in the United States.
Some $52 billion was earmarked by the bill’s draftsmen as subsidies to local chips manufacturers aimed at stimulating production. Since the pandemic, the tech industry has been blighted by a shortage of chips, leading to sky-rocketing prices and an overreliance on foreign suppliers.
“For decades, some experts said we needed to give up on manufacturing in America. I never believed that. Manufacturing jobs are back,” said Biden. “Thanks to this bill, we are going to have even more of them.”
Apart from reducing the cost of manufacturing, the bill will establish a digital currency advisory role for the Biden administration. The new role will operate under the Office of Science and Technology Policy and has been hailed by industry leaders as the right step in the right direction.
Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), a digital currency enthusiast and head of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, expressed delight in the bill’s Congressional approval. “I am proud to foster the policy needed to ensure innovation continues to take shape in our government,” said Soto.
Not everyone is pleased with the bill
The bill has elicited a negative reaction from a small group of legislators. The dissenting group headed by Bernie Sanders argued that the incoming bill is simply a “blank cheque” for chip manufacturing companies to access.
“There is no debate that the microchip and semiconductor shortage is a dire threat to our nation,” Sanders claimed. “What I cannot understand is why so many in Congress are so eager to pay this bribe.”
Sanders, in a publicly issued statement, said that the move by Congress would mean the top five largest semiconductor companies will receive the lion’s share of the subsidies despite netting over $70 billion in profits in the last 12 months.
He stated that he would back the bill if certain conditions were met. At the top of the list is that the firms should not buy back their own stock and must remain neutral in trade union activities in their industry.
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