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Chip Makers May Pick Up Political Cost Without the Benefit

Everything has its price. For the U.S. semiconductor industry, certain costs may have to be paid before it is ever able to cash in on its growing political visibility.

Chip makers are growing antsy awaiting passage of legislation that would provide about $52 billion in funding for U.S.-based semiconductor-manufacturing operations. The measure was conceived following the shock of the chip-production shortage that began rocking industries across the world in late 2020, and which proved particularly painful for groups like auto makers. The inability to ship a $40,000 vehicle for want of a $1 microcontroller chip created a powerful sense of urgency for lawmakers, who were at the time keenly focused on dealing with the pandemic’s ill effects.