WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Troy Balderson (OH-12) admonished House Democrats from the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday for advancing yet another partisan "messaging bill" rather than addressing American economic competitiveness.
Mister Speaker, I rise today to express my concerns with H.R. 4521.
I want to talk for a moment not about China, but about Licking County, Ohio — in the district I represent.
Licking County - located on the outskirts of Columbus - was cast into the national spotlight last month when a major U.S. tech company announced an initial $20 billion investment to build the first phase of what they plan to grow into the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturing facility.
This investment will put Licking County at the epicenter of a new Silicon Heartland and at the forefront of addressing the nation’s semiconductor shortage.
This investment will have an economic ripple effect throughout the region. Indeed, it will benefit our entire country.
Semiconductor chips are crucial components to products Americans use and rely on every day, including cars, computers, cell phones, and virtually every electronic device in our homes.
Since the early 1990s, the United States' share of semiconductor manufacturing has fallen from 37 percent to just 12 percent today.
Asian countries now account for more than 70 percent of semiconductor chip manufacturing globally.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its following supply chain disruptions have brought this issue to the forefront for every American.
One concern for Americans in the market for a new car is the empty lots at dealerships as automobile production lines wait for chips from Asia.
Failing to address the shortage of semiconductor chips could have dire consequences for our national security.
With production of U.S. military defense systems dependent upon access to these chips, over-reliance on foreign countries leaves U.S. national security interests vulnerable too.
We cannot allow ourselves to be held hostage by the imbalance of foreign chip production.
The United States is not alone.
Other countries are waking up to this reality too.
As I speak, the European Union is developing CHIPS legislation in an effort to quadruple their production of semiconductor CHIPS by 2030.
Falling further behind in chip manufacturing is a national security issue that we just can’t afford.
I am honored to represent a community that will soon play a leading role in addressing the global chip shortage and producing these vital components to our modern economy.
I am excited that we have an opportunity to help grow U.S. manufacturing of chips to epic proportions with a much-needed investment.
The CHIPS act investment will level the playing field and let U.S. manufacturers compete in this market.
But once again, Democrat leadership is doing it the wrong way.
My constituents - and all Americans - were hopeful that the Majority here in Congress had learned from their recent failures about what happens when these packages become too big, too costly, and too partisan.
The CHIPS Act presents Congress with a golden opportunity to FINALLY pass a bipartisan, common-sense investment that would bolster American competitiveness on the world stage.
Unfortunately, the CHIPS Act constitutes a small fraction of the bill’s overall price tag, which is over $300 billion.
Instead, House Democrats worked behind closed doors - with no Republican input - and managed to bury good provisions under a mountain of unrelated policies that have nothing to do with American competitiveness.
In their hasty attempt at a partisan victory, the Democrats’ bill:
Funnels $8 billion to the unaccountable U.N. Green Climate Fund, which has already given $100 million to the Chinese Communist Party
Pours billions of dollars into offshore Climate Change Resiliency programs instead of holding China - the world’s worst polluter - accountable for its own destructive emission standards
Creates unlimited visas and immigration pathways for Chinese nationals with STEM degrees
This allows the CCP to handpick which Chinese nationals apply for visas and opens the door for the CCP to use unlimited visas to engage in espionage and theft of sensitive technologies.
Creates “Climate Change Officers” within the Foreign Service, weakening our diplomats’ focus on our core national interests.
In an effort to improve this bill, I offered common-sense amendments to encourage domestic manufacturing of critical products.
I also offered amendments to remove the billions of dollars in partisan spending for global green new deal programs and shift focus on what this bill should be about.
Mister Speaker, the bill before us today is proof House Democrats learned nothing from their disastrous Build Back Better blunder.
Rather than allowing American economic competitiveness to be a rallying point for bipartisanship, the Majority’s all-or-nothing approach makes this yet another missed opportunity.
If this bill advances to the conference committee, I am hopeful that conferees will focus on areas of bipartisan, bicameral agreement, like the CHIPS Act.
It’s past time to bolster this production here at home.
I urge my colleagues to stop with the messaging bills and bring a piece of legislation to the Floor that can win strong, bi-partisan support.
Together, we can ensure that the serious business of American competitiveness gets the careful consideration and support that it deserves.