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Stabenow, Peters urge passage of CHIPS Act

U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology
The physics package of the NIST chip-scale atomic clock includes (from the bottom) a laser, a lens, an optical attenuator to reduce the laser power, a waveplate that changes the polarization of the light, a cell containing a vapor of cesium atoms, and (on top) a photodiode to detect the laser light transmitted through the cell. The tiny gold wires provide electrical connections to the electronics for the clock.

Michigan’s U.S. Senators are urging quick passage of the CHIPS Act, which would provide billions of dollars to invest in semiconductor chip manufacturing.

That legislation is one of President Joe Biden’s priorities. It’s also been championed by both Michigan senators, Democrats Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow.

Peters said supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted how dependent the country has become on foreign suppliers of critical infrastructure, including chips.

He said chip shortages have helped drive up inflation, including car prices.

“A lot of that inflation is related to automobile prices that are up — used car prices that are up. And it's because of a chip shortage which has created shortages in those products and raised prices," Peters said.

Cars can contain hundreds of semiconductor chips. The chips are also crucial parts of products ranging from washing machines to military weapons.

Julie Fream, the president and CEO of the Original Equipment Supplier Organization, said the auto industry in particular has suffered from current chip shortages.

“These additional semiconductors will help restore automotive production volumes and allow us to continue to build a strong economy for Michigan and the rest of the nation," she said.

The CHIPS Act passed a key vote in the Senate Tuesday. Peters Stabenow said they're hopeful the bill can be fully passed within the week.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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