Industries Pressure Washington to Act as Chip Crisis Worsens




Washington’s pledge to pour tens of billions of taxpayer dollars into making more microchips in the U.S. is setting off behind-the-scenes squabbles among industries angling for a slice of the spoils.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Thursday convened nearly three dozen executives from many of those sectors, including tech, autos and semiconductors, for a second high-level confab with the Biden administration in just over a month. So many companies wanted to participate they were split into two sessions.

“There’s a lack of transparency right now in the supply chain,” Raimondo told reporters afterward. “We are trying to figure out what role, if any, the government can and should play in increasing that information sharing and forecasting, so we can alleviate the short-term crunch.”

The Biden administration and Congress are under mounting pressure to relieve a global chip shortage that has idled manufacturing workers and raised prices for some consumer products, complicating the economic recovery. Key political constituencies are leaning hard on the government to act — forcing policymakers into the thorny position of picking winners and losers from across a vast swath of critical industries.

The issue has only grown more urgent as the chip shortage threatens to last through the rest of the year — or longer. But building new semiconductor plants is a yearslong undertaking, so some industries, especially automakers, have implored the U.S. to explore more immediate interventions.

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