Georgia delegation splits on party lines as House passes computer chip funding

President Joe Biden attends an event to support legislation that would encourage domestic manufacturing and strengthen supply chains for computer chips. The House gave final approval to a chip bill Thursday, sending it to Biden for his signature.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

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President Joe Biden attends an event to support legislation that would encourage domestic manufacturing and strengthen supply chains for computer chips. The House gave final approval to a chip bill Thursday, sending it to Biden for his signature. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON — Democrats in the U.S. House were joined by two dozen Republicans in passing a science and innovation package that includes $52 billion to boost computer chip production.

Although the vote was bipartisan, most GOP lawmakers opposed the measure in protest of a separate bill Democrats negotiated alone that will address health care costs and climate change. Republicans, including all eight from Georgia, said they were concerned that the two measures together created excessive spending that could worsen inflation.

Among those was U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, who was one of the champions of earlier iterations of the bill and was named to the conference committee that was initially tasked with ironing out a compromise between the two chambers. What passed Thursday was a scaled-down version that was negotiated among Senate leaders and no longer included some of the China competitiveness language Carter had championed.

While the Pooler Republican said Wednesday that he was open to backing the bill, when the vote came up, he could no longer support it.

“I am disappointed that Washington Democrats foiled an opportunity for bipartisanship,” Carter said in a statement. “We need a comprehensive bill to boost our economy and combat the Chinese Communist Party. Instead, we have a bill that will exacerbate our inflation crisis, add billions to the national debt, and pick winners and losers by choosing just one sector of our economy in which to invest.”

The final vote was 243-187. Democrat Sara Jacobs of California voted “present” because her family is behind the semiconductor company Qualcomm, which she said created a conflict of interest.

The package includes money to help ensure the Kia car plant in West Point, Georgia, and other manufacturers that have been forced to shut down at times because of the scarcity of semiconductors.

None of the 24 Republicans who supported the measure were from Georgia. All eight of the state’s Democrats backed the legislation and celebrated its passage on the House floor. The Senate already signed off on the bill, and President Joe Biden is expected to sign it into law quickly.

“Investing in domestic semiconductor manufacturing will lower costs at home, create nearly 100,000 jobs, and enhance the United States’ national security,” U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Suwanee, said in a statement after the vote. “I am pleased to join my colleagues in seizing this opportunity by passing the CHIPS and Science Act. This legislation represents a major step forward for American leadership in the 21st Century.”


HOW THEY VOTED ON H.R. 4346, the computer chips and science research bill

“Yes”

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Suwanee

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia

U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta

U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta

U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta

“No”

U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Evans

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler

U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Athens

U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-West Point

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome

U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro

U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton