March 03, 2022
After President Biden’s State of the Union call for Congress to immediately pass bipartisan competitiveness legislation, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) President and CEO Debra Phillips sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging them to move quickly to reach a bipartisan compromise on competitiveness legislation from the Senate-passed U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and the recently House-passed America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength (America COMPETES) Act, ensuring that the reconciled bill finally funds the CHIPS Act.
In addition, Phillips outlined NEMA’s five key priorities for incorporation into the final competitiveness legislation package. Congress should:
- Provide manufacturing support and funding for elements of the broader semiconductor ecosystem, including transistors, diodes, and other components which are critical to manufacturing many electrical products and are not currently available from U.S. sources.
- Support important provisions re-authorizing and establishing key tariff-relief programs such as the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, the Generalized System of Preferences Program, and restart and reform the Section 301 tariff exclusions process; delay inclusion of the Section 321 de minimis program provision in the Conference process and pursue further information-gathering activities to better understand its potential impact.
- Consider widening the eligibility of the International Standards Development Capacity Building Pilot Program to all U.S. businesses, as well as relevant trade associations, given the key roles large and small businesses and trade associations play in establishing international manufacturing standards.
- Support the creation of the of a strategic transformer program and ensure that: (1) the Department of Energy consults original equipment manufacturers as reserves are established; (2) that consideration is given to the current lack of availability of electrical steel, which makes it difficult to increase outputs in the near-term to accomplish the outlined objectives; and (3) that authorized funding remains available until it is expended.
- Include in the final competitiveness legislation the state flex-tech energy program included in the COMPETES Act.
Journalists covering the legislation can attribute the following quote to National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) President and CEO Debra Phillips:
"The recent passage of the COMPETES for America Act was another important step in easing supply chain challenges and bolstering U.S. semiconductor manufacturing capabilities across the economy - from manufacturing, smart buildings, medical diagnostics, and mobility technologies. But it has been over a year since Congress authorized the CHIPS Act in the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act. The time is now to find a bipartisan compromise on the Senate and House versions of competitiveness legislation and send it to the president’s desk for immediate signature.”
“Not only are semiconductors essential to nearly every aspect of Americans' lives - from essential medical imaging equipment to smart grid technologies, but a reliable, resilient supply is required to achieve the shared infrastructure modernization goals of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Failure to solve short- and long-term supply chain challenges stalls the transformation of U.S. infrastructure systems toward an accessible, electrified transportation system, modernized buildings and lighting, a more resilient grid, and increased efficiency of expanded manufacturing.”
"NEMA looks forward to working with lawmakers on fortifying our nation’s manufacturing base, strengthening supply chain systems and streamlining regulatory programs to support the creation of an electrified, connected, and sustainable future that will enhance the quality of life for all Americans, grow our economy, protect the environment and serve the nation’s long-term interests.”