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Schumer Floor Remarks On Moving Forward The National Defense Authorization Act And Legislation To Boost American Competitiveness

Washington, D.C. –  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Senate beginning consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act, stating his intent to add legislation to boost US innovation and competitiveness to the measure. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

Last night I took the first procedural step for the Senate to begin consideration of our annual national defense bill.

Republicans have repeatedly said this legislation is urgent and needs to be taken up immediately. We've heard them say that. They signed letters about it. With their cooperation, the Senate can start voting as early as today. We’re ready to do that and I hope Republicans can join in moving this legislation forward quickly.  

This year, it is my hope and intention to add to the NDAA the bipartisan legislation that the Senate passed earlier this year to boost American manufacturing, scientific research and innovation, and U.S. competitiveness.

The US Innovation and Competition Act, USICA —formerly known as the Endless Frontier Act which I championed with Senator Young, with great help from so many, among them Senator Cantwell — it would be one of the largest federal investments in science, technology, and manufacturing in decades.

It’s an urgent and necessary step that will put more Americans to work in every corner of the country, it’ll fight inflation, and relieve overburdened supply chains. Talking about supply chains? Pass USICA! Nothing will do more over the next few years to reduce supply chain problems than this bill, and especially in the semiconductor industry.

The chip shortage is not some abstract issue – it’s impacting the daily lives of Americans. Cars, refrigerators, and other household appliances require chips. Supply shortages means Americans are left waiting a long times for these essentials.

We have legislation ready to go to fix this major chip crisis. Addressing this crisis cannot wait.

A generation ago we used to produce about a third of the world’s chip supply—now fewer than 12% are made in America while other countries, have lapped us, particularly China. This hurts American workers, American consumers and American national security. We should pass USICA this year – and it's a bipartisan bill – so we can strengthen domestic chip production and drive new investment in the industry to help address the shortage.

If we can pass the defense bill with USICA language included, I am hopeful that we will be able to work with the Speaker and our House colleagues to find a way to get this legislation enacted.