Gov. Kate Brown signs her $200 million "Future Ready Oregon" workforce spending plan at the Intel campus in Hillsboro on April 5. Brown and other Western governors are calling on Congress to approve subsidies for microchip manufacturers.(Photo by Julia Shumway/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and six other Western governors are calling on Congress to pass legislation with billions of dollars in subsidies for semiconductor manufacturing.

The U.S. Senate will have its first vote on the legislation on Tuesday morning, Senate President Chuck Schumer said Monday, and it will move to the U.S. House after a final Senate vote on Tuesday or Wednesday. 

The House plans to start its weeks-long summer break after this week. In their letter, Brown and the other governors urged Congress to stay in session “as long as necessary” to pass the semiconductor legislation. 

It would provide $52 billion in subsidies for U.S. companies that produce computer chips, as well as tax credits and other funding intended to increase domestic manufacturing of chips and technological advancements.

Bipartisan supporters of the legislation argue it’s necessary to help the U.S. compete with China and counteract a global chip shortage caused by the Covid pandemic and associated economic shutdowns. That ongoing chip shortage has caused prices for new and used cars to skyrocket since 2020, as new cars can require hundreds of semiconductors. 

Chips are an especially large industry in the West. Intel, the country’s largest microchip manufacturer, has facilities in Hillsboro, as well as in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Washington.

“Oregon is a leader in semiconductor development, and we need Congress to act now to ensure the United States continues to lead the way in technology and manufacturing,” Brown said in a statement. “Every state in the nation is impacted by the semiconductor shortage. The investments made by the CHIPS Act will expand domestic semiconductor manufacturing and grow our high-tech workforce, which is critical for our businesses and working families.”

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon joined Brown in signing the letter to Congress.

Oregon Capital Chronicle

Oregon Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oregon Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Lynne Terry for questions: Follow Oregon Capital Chronicle on Facebook and Twitter.

Julia Shumway, Oregon Capital Chronicle

Julia Shumway has reported on government and politics in Iowa and Nebraska, spent time at the Bend Bulletin and most recently was a legislative reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. An award-winning journalist, Julia most recently reported on the tangled efforts to audit the presidential results in Arizona.