WASHINGTON — Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo says it's time to get "serious" about reviving semiconductor chip production in the United States as the global auto industry pivots to electric vehicles.
Raimondo will urge Congress to pass $52 billion in funding to boost domestic production of the crucial component and tout the administration's efforts to ease the supply chain strain, according to remarks prepared for an appearance at the Detroit Economic Club Monday.
The ongoing chip crunch has left dealerships bare, forced car prices up and cost automakers an estimated $210 billion globally in lost production this year — a strain expected to ease over time.
"We're at an inflection point and we have to make choices," Raimondo told reporters ahead of the visit. "If we're serious about restoring American leadership in the global economy, we have to start by rebuilding our semiconductor industry so we can meet the demands of this moment."
Raimondo is expected to attend a roundtable at the UAW Region 1A headquarters in Taylor early Monday alongside Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, UAW President Ray Curry and others.
Afterward, she plans to speak at the Detroit Economic Club with Dingell and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
"Michigan understands what a healthy and vibrant manufacturing industry can mean for a state's economy — and what happens when that manufacturing industry nearly gets wiped out," Raimondo said last week in a preview of her remarks.
She argued the new $1 trillion infrastructure law will help Michigan's manufacturing industries and re-shore jobs, but said more is needed to bolster U.S. dominance in the emerging EV market.
The Senate in June passed a bill that would fund $52 billion in domestic chip manufacturing, including a provision spearheaded by Peters that would set aside $2 billion for "mature" chips to be used primarily in autos.
However, the bill has yet to be taken up in the House. Raimondo says passing the funding is crucial to meeting President Joe Biden's goal of half all new vehicle sales being electric by 2030, because electric vehicles use more chips than gas- and diesel-powered ones.