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tv   U.S. Senate Sens. Cornyn Sanders on Computer Chip Bill  CSPAN  July 26, 2022 4:31am-5:04am EDT

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mr. cornyn: thank you, madam president. madam president, as i was preparing to come to the floor, i was going to say we were going to have a vote tonight to proceed to fill a major gap in our national security. although it looks like mother nature and the weather may prevent a vote tonight, and it may be tomorrow, but still, i
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expect in the next couple of days for us to address a major gap in our national security. more than a year and a half after the original chips act became law, we're finally approaching the finish line in the race to fund it. you may recall it was in june of 2020 that senator warner, the senior senator, democrat, from virginia, and i introduced the chips for america act to address a frightening supply chain vulnerability when it comes to the most advanced semiconductors in the world. 90% of which come from asia. 60% come from taiwan. defense secretary lloyd austin recently wrote a letter to congressional leaders saying that funding the chips act is critical to our national defense. and last week, former secretary of state and cia director mike
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poi payo also -- pompeo urged congress to pass this, saying the cost on this bill pales in comparison to the cost we will suffer if we allow the chinese communist party to one day own and control access to our most critical technologies. i agree with both of these statements, one by a democrat appointee, another by a republican appointee. chips underpin virtually all the technology that we use, that keeps us safe at home and protects our troops around the world. and for those not conversant with the role that semiconductors play, these microprocessors underpin literally everything that has an off and on switch, and obviously our dependency on that kind of technology will do nothing but increase in the days and months
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and years ahead. from our major military assets, like the f-35 joint strike fighter, to everyday technologist that keep our troops safe, like advanced body armor, semiconductors are key. keeping a ready and dependable supply chain of these defense assets requires a lot of semiconductors, and right now we are mainly looking to other countries to manufacture them. as a matter of fact, the united states of america makes zero percent of the most advanced semiconductors in the world. we depend on outsourcing virtually all of the manufacturing to other countries, and produce none of them here. roughly 75% of the semiconductor manufacturing globally is concentrated in china and east asia. and 100% of the world's most advanced chip making capacity is located in only two places,
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taiwan and south korea. as i said, taiwan commands 92% of the world's advanced chip making, and the united states makes zero. you might wonder how did we find ourselves in this situation. well, i think it was probably the supply chain vulnerabilities that we saw from covid-19 that called into question this assumption that just because something could be made cheaper somewhere else in the world, that that necessarily checked all the boxes. well, it does if all you're depending on is china to make toys for our children or other nonessential items. but when you're talking about the very brains behind the technology we need, ranging from our cell phone, as i said, to our most sophisticated military weapons, it does not check all the boxes to say we'll just import those from abroad, where they can be made cheaper, because that vulnerable supply
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chain, if disrupted, could cause not only a severe economic depression in america, but also threaten our national security directly. if access to those chips were cut off or restricted, we would be up a creek without a paddle. we couldn't produce a stockpile of javelin missiles to supply ukraine or produce the radios-and-communications devices that keep our troops and our allies connected. that's why shoring up this domestic supply, this manufacturing capacity, is a key national security priority. and this is the best way to protect one of our most critical supply chains and ensure our military readiness will not be compromised by the people's republic of china or the chinese communitiist party. which has threatened, by the way, to invade taiwan, where the vast majority of these advanced
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semiconductors are made. but it wouldn't necessarily require military intervention. it could be another pandemic, it could be a natural disaster, anything that might block our access to these advanced semiconductors. while closing that national security gap is the top priority here, we can't ignore major economic consequences that this legislation will deliver as well. while when i introduced this legislation with senator warner, from virginia, who's chairman of the senate intelligence committee, on which i also serve, our focus was on national security. obviously, many of our states will be winners when it comes to the economic consequences of this legislation as well. texas has been, for example, a long-standing leader in the semiconductor industry and is home to more than 200 chip manufacturing facilities that employ 29,000 texans. for years, our state has reaped the benefits of semiconductor
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manufacturing. most of these are what are called legacy chips. they're the older chips, where you're not as concerned about miniaturization or compactness or power. things that, for example, run our refrigerators, our tv sets, or other consumer electronics, or maybe even our cars. we're already seeing the types of investments that this chips bill will finally brink. earlier this summer, texas instruments, in the metroplex in dallas fort worth broke ground on the first of four new fabs in sherman, texas, about an hour north of dallas. this is part of a $30 billion investment expected to create some 3,000 more jobs. the mayor of sherman, where this is located, in northeast texas, described it as a watershed day, noting that it's hard to have a frame of reference for a
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$30 billion investment in a town of 50,000 people. and sherman isn't the only town in texas preparing for a major chips boom. last fall i joined leaders from samsung, a south korean company with a large facility already in austin, texas, when they announced a $17 billion additional investment in a new chip fab in taylor, texas, just outside of austin. that facility is expected to create 2,000 high-tech jobs and other jobs once operational, because these fabs, or manufacturing facilities, are not standalone, they are part of what ultimately will become an ecosystem of suppliers and other affiliated industries that will be built up around them, creating thousands of more jobs. but we also learned from samsung that they're not likely to stop there, if we pass this chips for america funding this week.
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samsung is currently considering whether to expand its investment to include 11 new chip-making facilities in central texas. if it moves forward with this plan, which again depends on our passage of this legislation this week, it could lead to nearly $200 billion in additional investments and create 10,000 jobs. i know that's tough to imree hend, the economic -- to comprehend, the economic growth and sweeping benefits with a $200 billion investment and 10,000 new jobs, but as exciting as these are, there's something even better. this is just the beginning. companies around the world are eyeing texas and the united states for new investments in chip making. applied materials, mxp semiconductors, global tech and a number of other companies are looking at building or expanding their facilities in texas or
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other parts of the country. global foundries, for example, is investing $1 billion to boost production in new york. intel plans to build a $20 billion facility of two fabs in ohio. and taiwan semiconductor company tsmc, as it's called, is building a $12 billion plant in arizona. they've already broken ground on that plant, but they've made it clear that their willingness to make that investment and complete that fab will depend on our passage of the chips for america act. and once this legislation passes, i expect more good news to follow. this is not just good news for individual states but also for our national economy and our global competitiveness. madam president, we're not used to providing these kind of financial incentives to businesses, but when it costs 30% less to build these
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manufacturing facilities across the seas in ashah and -- asia and our access toss that supply chain is potentially jeopardizes by very real threats, it is a necessary investment for us to make, and we're seeing other places around the world providing similar incentives. for example, in the european union. but that doesn't necessarily solve our supply chain problem. we need those jobs and that annvestment here in america for us to be truly safe and secure and to reap the economic benefits of this investment. on the economic front, this funding has the support of many groups on the outside, including the bipartisan support that i mentioned earlier. in my state, the texas association of business, the u.s. chamber of commerce, for example. we've heard from the national governors association, which is
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a bipartisan organization of u.s. governors. as well as the u.s. conference of mayors, which represent state and local leaders across the state -- across the country. my governor, governor abbott, called this bill an opportunity to lock even greater economic potential. so i'm proud to support this legislation. after all this time, i'll be especially glad when the finish line is? sight -- is in sight and we cross it successfully later this week. i yield the floor. mr. sanders: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: like the senator from texas, i wish to speak about the so-called chips bill.
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but my perspective is, to say the least, a little bit different. to my mind, what the chips bill represents is the question of whether or not we will have priorities in this country that represent the needs of working families and middle class or whether this institution, the entire congress, is totally beholden to wealthy and powerful corporate interests. madam president, i do not argue with anyone who makes the point that there is a global shortage in microchips and semiconductors, which is making it harder for manufacturers to produce the cars, the cell
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phones, the household appliances, and the electronic equipment that we need. this shortage is in fact costing american workers good-paying jobs and raising prices for families. and that is why i personally strongly support the need to expand u.s. microchip production. but the question that we should be asking is this -- should american taxpayers provide the microchip industry with a blank check -- blank check -- of over $76 billion at the same exact time when semiconductor companies are making tens of billions of dollars in profits and paying their c.e.o.'s exorbitant
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compensation packages? that really is one of the questions that we should be asking, and i think the answer to that is is a resounding no. this is an enormously profitable industry. madam president, according to an associated press article that i read today, senator romney, reflecting the views, i think, of many -- i think senator cornyn made the same point. senator romney was quoted as saying that when other countries subsidize the manufacturing of high technology chips, the united states must join the club, must join the club. if you don't play like they play, then you are not going to be manufacturing high-technology chips, and they are essential senator our national defense as well as our economy, end of quote, senator romney said. now or, i find -- now, i find
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the position of senator romney and others to be really quite interesting because i personally have been on this floor many, many times urging the senate to look to other countries around the world and learn from those countries. and what i have said is that it is a bit absurd that here in the united states we are the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all of their people. and senator romney says, join the club. and i agree. let's join the club and not spend twice as much per capita on health care as the canadians, as the british, as the french. let's join that club and guarantee health care to all people rather than making the insurance companies billions of profits every single year.
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senator romney says, join the club, and i agree. we should join the club in terms of higher education. germany today and other countries around the world make sure that their young people can go to their colleges and universities tuition-free so that they don't have to leave school $40,000, $50,000, or $1 see,000 in debt. let's join the club. let's do what germany and other countries are doing, which makes eminent sense in every sense of the world. let's guarantee the right for all of our kids, regardless of income, to get a higher education. let's join the club. heh ... and there is another club we might want to join. we're the only major country,
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virtually the only country on earth, that does not guarantee paid family and medical leave. there are women today in the united states of america having a baby, and they will be back at work in a week because they need the income. no guarantee paid family and medical leave. there are people getting fired today because their kids are sick. they got to make a choice whether they hang on to their job or take care of their sick kids. let's join the club. let's do what not only every major country on earth does in terms of guarantee major family and medical. but i gather the problem is that to join those clubs in terms of universal health care, in terms of paid family and medical leave, in terms of free tuition at public colleges and universities, we're going to have to take on powerful special
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interest, and they make campaign contributions, and that's not what the senate does. well, when it comes to joining the club with other countries giving blank checks to large corporations, that's a club that, unfortunately, many of my colleagues here feel comfortable in joining. so apparently, madam president, when corporate america needs a blank check of $76 billion, we do what other countries are doing. madam president, there is a lot of talk about the microchip crisis facing this country, but amazingly enough, very little discussion about how we got to the where we are today. one might ask, okay, if there is a crisis, how did it happen? well, let's review some recent history. this is really quite amaze ago. over the last 20 years, the
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microchip industry has shut down over 780 manufacturing plants and other establishments in the united states and eliminated 150,000 american jobs while moving most of its production overseas. and, by the way, they did that after they received a federal grant and loans much smaller than what we are talking about today. so here is the absurd situation that we're in. the crisis is caused by the industry shutting down in america and moving abroad. and today what we are doing is saying we are going to give you a blank check to undo the damage that you did. let me just give you a few examples. we don't have a whole lot of
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information on this. between 23010 and 2014, intel laid off approximately 1,400 workers from the rio rancho. intel laid off more than 1,000 workers in oregon between 2015 and 2016. texas instruments outsourced 400 jobs from their houston manufacturing facility to the philippines in 2013. micron technology has repeatedly cut jobs in boise, idaho, including 1,100 in 2003, another 1,100 in 2007, 1500 in 208. and in 2009, the company stopped manufacturing some types of chips entirely. in order to make more profits, these companies took government money and used it to ship
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good-paying jobs abroad. now as a reward for causing the crisis that we are in, these same companies are in line to receive a massive taxpayer handout to undo the damage they did. wow, that is a heck of a policy. you bribe companies to undo the damage that they caused. madam president, it is estimated in total that five major semiconductor companies will receive the lion's share of this taxpayer handout. intel, texas instruments, micron technology, global foundries and samsung. these five companies alone made $70 billion in profits. you know, i find it interesting -- and i've heard senators here on the floor talk about entitlements. when we help working people,
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when we help poor people, there are all kinds of requirements, work requirements, reporting requirements, drug testing requirements, you name the requirements when the federal government helps working people or low-income people. well, what are the requirements attached to this handout for large, profitable corporations? the answer is zero. madam president, the company that will likely benefit the most from this taxpayer assistance is intel. in 2021, last year, intel made nearly $20 billion in profits. you know, it just does astound me, madam president. you have heard people come to the floor and say, we can't help working parents with their kids. we don't believe in those entitlement programs. we can't guarantee health care to all people. we're not a -- quote, unquote -- entitled society. but a company that last year
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made $20 billion in profit, they are entitled to what we estimate will be between $20 billion and $30 billion in federal funding. during the pandemic during the last several years, intel had enough money to spend $16.6 billion not on research and development, not on building new plants in america, but an buying back its own stock to reward its executives and wealthy shareholders. so here is the absurd moment that we are in. as i mentioned a moment ago, it is estimated that intel will receive $20 billion to $30 billion in federal funding, and, yes. within the last several years, the same company spent over $16 billion on stock buybacks, and there is no guarantee in
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this bill that they will not -- that they and other companies who receive these grants will not continue to do stock buybacks. madam president, and this is the way a corrupt political system works, and i hope everybody understands it. over the past 20 years, intel has spent over $100 million on lobbying and campaign contributions. that's a lot of money, $100 million, but this is what a corrupt political system is about. for $100 million in lobbying and campaign contributions, they're going to get at least $20 billion in corporate welfare. that, i would argue, is a pretty good investment, and that's what goes on here not only with the microchip industry, it goes on with the pharmaceutical industry, the fossil fuel
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industry, the insurance industry, huge amounts of money in lobbying and campaign contributions, the pharmaceutical industry has 1 1,500 lobbyists, which is why we pay the highest in prescription drugs in the world. madam president, i find this extraordinary, and maybe i'm the only one who does. a little over a week ago a person at intel, a man named matt gelsinger, who earns $100 million a year in compensation, not a bad salary. he did an interview on cnbc's squawk box program. and i think to listen to that interview tells us everything we need to know about oligarchy and arrogance and the state of
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american politics. this is what he said on tv. quote, i love this one. my message, mr. gelsinger's message to congressional leaders is, hey, if i'm not done with the job, you don't get to go home, neither should you. don't go home for august recess until you pass the chips act. because -- now listen to this -- because i, and others in the industry, will make investment decisions. and do you want those investments in the u.s. or are we simply not competitive enough to do them here and we, the industry, need to go to europe or asia for those? get the job done. do not go home for august recess without getting these bills passed. in other words, what he is telling you pointblank is who is
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the puppet and who is the p -- puppup -- don't go home for the august break unless you get this done or we will go to europe or asia. that is the state of american politics. not only in america, it is equally true in other countries also held hostage by large, multinational corporations. madam president, let us be clear. the c.e.o. of intel is saying that if you don't give his industry a $76 billion blank check, and his particular company up to $30 billion, that despite no doubt their profound love for america -- i'm sure they've got big american flags all over the place and their
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patriotism and their concern for the needs of the military and the health care industry, which, in fact, needs these sophisticated chips, that if we do not give them this bribe, despite their love of america and their concern about our national defense, you heard senator cornyn talking about national defense, and he's right, this is a national defense issue, but despite all of that, all of their love for america, they're willing to go to asia and go to europe in order to make even more money. madam president, as i said last week, i am thankfully not a lawyer, but that sure sounds like extortion to me. mr. gelsinger's words sure sound like extortion. what you are saying is that if you don't give his industry $76 billion, they're out. they're not going to build in
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the united states and they're going to go abroad. so i have a few questions for mr. gelsinger and the other microchip c.e.o.'s. if intel and the others receive a corporate welfare check from the taxpayers of america, are they willing to commit today that they will not outsource american jobs overseas? yes or no. if this legislation passes, will intel and the others commit today that they will not spend another penny on stock buybacks to enrich wealthy shareholders, but will instead spend that money to create jobs in the united states? if this legislation goes into effect, will intel and the others commit today that they will stay neutral and end a union organizing campaign like the one by the microchip plant
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in oregon, will they commit today that they will issue warrants to the federal government so that the taxpayers of america get a reasonable return on their investment? these grants are going to provide a whole lot of profit for these companies. it seems to me the taxpayers should benefit as well. and, madam president, if intel and the others were prepared to say yes to any of these questions, i don't think that they would be lobbying against my amendment to oppose these very same conditions to this legislation. so, madam president, let me simply conclude by saying this. i worry not only about this bill, i worry about the precedent that it states, that it allows. and what the precedent is is
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that any company who is prepared to go abroad, who has ignored the needs of the american people will then say to the congress, hey, if you want us to stay here, you better give us a handout. we manufacture virtually all of our lap top computers in china. we manufacture all of our -- virtually all of our cell phones in china. pass this legislation and i expect all of these guys and others will be back here and say we want for our industry what you did for the microchip industry. so the bottom line is here, yes, we need to rebuild the microchip industry in the united states, but not as a handout. let us sit down and work on intelligent industrial policies, less work on a series of agreements that protect the american taxpayers and american workers and not just wea

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