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42 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2022 Feature Article by Chris Mitchell IPC Politics is a business that's prone to hyper- bole. But I believe it is no exaggeration to say that the future of U.S. electronics manufac- turing—amid the fiercest global competition we've ever seen—may come down to a series of government policy decisions being made in Washington in 2022. And no one is going to secure our industry's future if we don't fight for it ourselves. e locus of the debate is a sprawling bat- tle over two pieces of legislation: the America COMPETES Act, passed by the U.S. House in February, and the U.S. Innovation and Com- petitiveness Act (USICA), passed by the U.S. Senate last June. Both enjoy bipartisan support and industry backing. Both bills aim to boost federal investment in a variety of cutting-edge technologies and keep the United States in the lead versus China and other rising competitors. Both contain $52 billion to strengthen the U.S. semiconductor industry and implement the CHIPS for Amer- ica Act of 2021. Both are complex and far- reaching. If all the parties involved can come together over the next few months and enact a final ver- sion of the bill—and if they stay on task and implement the new law in a sustained way— then it will launch a new era of federal govern- ment partnership with the electronics industry and several emerging technologies. If they don't, then it's anybody's guess when the political forces will be aligned again to make such legislation possible. On the Brink of Extinction? e Biden administration has called for urgent action on semiconductors, as have lead- ers in both parties. News headlines have been broadcasting the chips shortage for months. But what is usually overlooked in the debate is that chips do not function on their own. e USICA bill does not even include the word "electronics." It's Time for Government to Step Up to the Plate

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