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This post originally posted here CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer unveiled revised bipartisan legislation late Tuesday to approve $ 52 billion to significantly boost U.S. semiconductor chip production and research over five years.
The emergency funding proposal will be included in a more than 1,400-page revised bill the Senate is taking up this week, as first reported by Reuters on Friday, to spend $ 120 billion on basic U.S. and advanced technology research to compete with China.
Schumer said the bill includes a “historic $ 52 billion investment to make sure the United States stays on the cutting edge of chip production.”
The proposal includes $ 49.5 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to fund the chip provisions that were included in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, but which require a separate process to garner funding.
President Joe Biden has also called for $ 50 billion to boost semiconductor production and research.
Supporters of funding note the U.S. had a 37% share of semiconductors and microelectronics production in 1990; today just 12% of semiconductors are manufactured in the United States.
“There is an urgent need for our economic and national security to provide funding to swiftly implement these critical programs. The Chinese Communist Party is aggressively investing over $ 150 billion in semiconductor manufacturing so they can control this key technology,” a summary released Tuesday said.
The measure would “support the rapid implementation of the semiconductor provisions” in the defense bill.
As reported by Reuters on Friday, the bill includes $ 39 billion in production and R&D incentives and $ 10.5 billion to implement programs including the National Semiconductor Technology Center, National Advanced Packaging (NYSE:) Manufacturing Program and other R&D programs.
The chips shortage has harmed U.S. auto production and hindered other industries that rely on chips.
Last month, Ford Motor (NYSE:) warned the chip shortage might slash second-quarter production by half, costing it about $ 2.5 billion and about 1.1 million units of lost production in 2021, while General Motors (NYSE:) has extended production halts at several North American factories because of the shortage.
The bill also includes $ 1.5 billion in emergency funding to help boost Western-based alternatives to Chinese equipment providers Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp (HK:), aiming to accelerate development of an open-architecture model (known as OpenRAN) backed by U.S. carriers.
Another provision prohibits the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok from being downloaded to government devices “to better safeguard the privacy and security of Americans.”
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Author: Lisa Lerer and Annie Karni
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News
When Joseph R. Biden Jr. served as vice president in the Obama administration, he was known to preface his recommendations to other officials with a self-deprecating disclaimer. He may not have attended Harvard or Yale, Mr. Biden would say as he popped into an office or a meeting, but he was still a foreign policy expert, and he knew how to work Capitol Hill.
Mr. Biden isn’t apologizing anymore.
Now 100 days into his presidency, Mr. Biden is driving the biggest expansion of American government in decades, an effort to use $ 6 trillion in federal spending to address social and economic challenges at a scale not seen in a half-century. Aides say he has come into his own as a party leader in ways that his uneven political career didn’t always foretell, and that he is undeterred by matters that used to bother him, like having no Republican support for Democratic priorities.
For an establishment politician who cast his election campaign as a restoration of political norms, his record so far amounts to the kind of revolution that he said last year he would not pursue as president — but that, aides say, became necessary to respond to a crippling pandemic. In doing so, Mr. Biden is validating the desires of a party that feels fiercely emboldened to push a liberal agenda through a polarized Congress.
The result is something few people expected: His presidency is transforming what it means to be a Democrat, even among a conservative wing of his party that spent decades preaching the gospel of bipartisanship.
“We’ve been very happy with his agenda and we’re the moderates,” said Matt Bennett, a co-founder of Third Way, a Democratic think tank named after a governing style embraced by former President Bill Clinton that rejected liberal orthodoxy. “Some have said this is a liberal wish list. We would argue that he is defining what it is to be a 21st-century moderate Democrat.”
Mr. Biden trumpeted his expansive agenda again on Wednesday night in his first address to Congress, casting his efforts to expand vaccinations and pour trillions of dollars into the economy as a way to unify a fractured nation.
“We’re vaccinating the nation; we’re creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs,” he said. “We’re delivering real results to people — they can see it and feel it in their own lives.”
Mr. Biden, now 78, has pursued these sweeping changes without completely losing his instinct for finding the center point of his party. As the Democratic consensus on issues has moved left over the years, he has kept pace — on abortion, gun control, same-sex marriage, the Iraq war and criminal justice — without going all the way to the furthest liberal stance. Now, he is leading a party that accelerated leftward during the Trump administration, and finding his own place on the Democratic spectrum — the one with the most likelihood of legacy-cementing success.
In private calls with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, whom he vanquished in the Democratic primaries, he collects ideas from the party’s liberal wing. With Senator Joe Manchin, the centrist West Virginia Democrat, he keeps tabs on his caucus and its slim congressional margins. And in conversations with Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader and a longtime negotiating partner, Mr. Biden appeals for bipartisan support, even as he warns that he won’t wait for it indefinitely.
“Biden is a politician who stays inside of the moment,” said Rashad Robinson, president of racial justice organization Color of Change, which was skeptical of Mr. Biden during the primary but now praises his work. “He stays inside of where the cultural context has moved.”
To the consternation of some Republicans, Mr. Biden is approaching politics differently from recent Democratic presidents who believed that support from the opposing party would provide a bulwark for their policies and political standing. In the 1990s, Mr. Clinton espoused triangulation, a strategy that forced liberals to settle for moderate policies by cutting deals with Republicans. Former President Barack Obama spent months trying to win bipartisan buy-in for his policy proposals.
Both strategies were rooted in political fears that began in the Reagan era: Doing too much to assuage the party’s left flank could alienate voters in the middle who took a more skeptical view of government, leaving Democrats unable to build coalitions for re-election.
Mr. Biden and his administration have embraced a different philosophy, arguing that difficult times have made liberal ideas popular with independents and some Republican voters, even if G.O.P. leaders continue to resist them.
The shift leftward, aides say, reflects a recognition by Mr. Biden that the problems facing the country require sweeping solutions, but also that both parties changed during the polarizing years of the Trump administration. Gone is the Senate where Mr. Biden spent decades, legislating like former President Ronald Reagan, who liked to say he’d call any negotiation where he could get 70 percent of what he wanted a win.
“There’s a difference between President Biden and Senator Biden,” said former Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican who served for decades with Mr. Biden and supported his presidential bid. “Even a difference between President Biden and Vice President Biden. He’s the president now and he’s got the responsibility of trying to move this country forward. Yes, he wants to do it in a bipartisan way if he can. But the fact is these problems aren’t going to solve themselves.”
Other Republicans see a more dissembling president, one who has broken his promises to reach across the aisle. In a floor speech on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. McConnell accused Mr. Biden of “false advertising” during his campaign, saying Americans “elected a president who preached moderation.”
He added: “Over a few short months the Biden officials seems to have given up on selling actual unity in favor of catnip for their liberal base.”
In his address, Mr. Biden said he was open to hearing Republican ideas on his infrastructure plans — but wouldn’t wait forever.
“I applaud a group of Republican senators who just put forward their proposal,” he said. “We welcome ideas. But the rest of the world isn’t waiting for us. Doing nothing is not an option.”
The decades Mr. Biden spent cultivating a moderate image, paired with the conciliatory tone he has adopted toward Republicans in public, has allowed him to push his agenda without facing charges of socialism — a label his opponents unsuccessfully tried to make stick during the presidential campaign.
Focus groups throughout the campaign found that voters felt they knew Mr. Biden, both for his family story and working class bona fides. Even now, voters rate Mr. Biden as more moderate than Mr. Obama at the same stage of his presidency, according to polling from NBC News. Mr. Biden is pursuing a more liberal agenda than Mr. Obama did, of course; but he is taking a lower-key approach and advancing relatively popular ideas, and he doesn’t face the same smears and attacks as Mr. Obama did as the first Black president.
“It’s been very artful because it’s allowed him to create this weird equilibrium where people don’t see him as a partisan ramrod, which gives comfort to moderates,” said David Axelrod, a former top adviser to Mr. Obama. “On the other hand, he’s really moving forward on a lot of these initiatives.”
Aides and allies say the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol also affected Mr. Biden’s thinking about what the country might accept politically. The soon-to-be president believed the violence alienated a slice of voters from Mr. Trump’s Republican Party, leaving them more open to Mr. Biden’s agenda, particularly if he delivered tangible government benefits like stimulus checks and vaccines.
“It’s fair to say that Obama followed the Clinton model, and Biden is not, in some fundamental ways, because the world has changed so profoundly,” Mr. Bennett said. “Joe Biden is dealing with a seditious, anti-democratic set of lunatics. You can’t deal with people who voted to overturn the election. You simply cannot, even if you’re a moderate.”
Mr. Biden’s predecessor helped till the ground in other ways. As Mr. Trump focused his attention on waging baseless attacks against the election results last winter, coronavirus cases surged across the country, leaving Americans eager for more economic and public health assistance; Mr. Biden provided that with a $ 1.9 trillion stimulus bill just a few weeks into his presidency.
“Joe Biden is living in a honeymoon with a prenup signed by Donald Trump,” said Rahm Emanuel, who was Mr. Obama’s chief of staff.
Yet some longtime friends and allies also see a more personal evolution in Mr. Biden since he assumed the role of president.
His inner circle says he is exhibiting a level of confidence they’ve never seen before, combined with an awareness that he only has a short window to achieve his goals before next year’s midterm elections, which could cost Democrats their slim governing majority. While Mr. Biden has said his “expectation” is that he’ll run again, political allies privately admit that remains an open question given his age.
Mr. Biden’s administration has not given liberals everything they’ve wanted, pushing back on proposals to cancel student debt, adopt the entirety of the Green New Deal and completely eliminate the filibuster.
During negotiations with Mr. Sanders’s team last summer over a shared platform that would unify Democrats behind Mr. Biden’s general election candidacy, Biden aides made clear that they would not accept any recommendations that they didn’t believe he could support if elected. At one point, they agreed to decriminalize marijuana but rejected a plan to legalize it completely, saying Mr. Biden didn’t agree with that policy, according to a person involved in the talks.
But Mr. Biden didn’t treat the negotiations as simply optics, an encouraging sign to many progressives that Mr. Biden and his team were committed to pursuing more-liberal policies than they had realized.
Mr. Biden’s advisers said they were perplexed by the progressive zeal over the president’s economic agenda, noting that the America Jobs Plan is exactly what Mr. Biden promised he would do during his campaign. The view from inside the West Wing is that liberals and Republicans both made false assumptions about Mr. Biden and how he would govern.
Aides argue that Mr. Biden hasn’t changed from the candidate who just months ago promised to find “between four and eight Republican senators” to support his policies. He’s still the politician who would be more comfortable compromising on his proposals, getting less than what he wanted, but passing legislation with Republicans on board. He still describes Mr. McConnell as a friend, and thinks he might have come in with a better shot at getting his support than Mr. Obama.
Aides also say he believes that bipartisan support, in the long term, will be more important for the country than passing his $ 4 trillion infrastructure bills untouched, through reconciliation.
“In his heart, he probably still would love to forge bipartisan deals,” Mr. Axelrod said. “But he’s going to be judged at the end of the day not on style points but what he gets done, and he knows that.”
Mike Collier, the 2018 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor who lost to Dan Patrick by 5 percentage points, is gearing up for another run.
Collier is launching an exploratory committee to challenge Patrick again next year, though he said it is more of a “confirmatory” committee and that he is “intent on doing this.”
“This is a rematch, and it’s all about holding Dan Patrick accountable,” Collier said in an interview, arguing that two major recent events — the winter weather emergency and coronavirus pandemic — have shown “what poor leadership does in the state of Texas.”
Collier, a Houston-area accountant, said he plans to pitch himself much like he did in 2018, playing the mild-mannered policy wonk to Patrick’s conservative firebrand. But he said he believes he has additional factors working in his favor this time, and not just the recent crises that have put a harsh spotlight on Texas Republican leaders. He has assembled a top-flight campaign team, is better-known statewide than ever and believes President Joe Biden will be an asset, not a liability, next year in Texas.
“Biden, I believe, is going to be a very popular president because his policies make sense, and then we have COVID, and then we have an insurrection, and then we have a power crisis and all sorts of reasons for people to pay attention,” Collier said. “So you roll all that together, and I think it’s a very winnable race.”
Collier remained politically active after his 2018 run, continuing to criticize Patrick and endorsing Biden early in the 2020 primary. Collier went on to serve as a senior adviser to Biden’s Texas campaign in the general election.
Collier’s campaign-in-waiting includes alumni of Biden’s campaign both nationally and in Texas. Collier is working with ALG Research, Biden’s pollster, as well as Crystal Perkins, the former Texas Democratic Party executive director who was Biden’s finance director for a region that included Texas.
Collier acknowledged he needs to raise more money than he did in 2018, when he collected $ 1.3 million over the two-year election cycle, a fraction of Patrick’s fundraising. However, Collier said his team has “already been in communication with the donors [for 2022] and we feel very bullish about that.”
A 2022 run would be Collier’s third statewide campaign. Before challenging Patrick in 2018, Collier ran for comptroller in 2014 and lost to the current GOP occupant of that office, Glenn Hegar, by 21 points.
“I think it’s an asset that I’ve run because it’s a big state, it’s a complicated state,” Collier said. “One of the reasons that we don’t win statewide is that the state is so large, and it takes a tremendous amount of experience and relationships” to win.
If Collier makes his campaign official as expected, it would give Democrats an early and serious contender as they look to build their 2022 statewide ticket. Beto O’Rourke continues to keep the door open to challenging Gov. Greg Abbott, even after saying last week he currently has “no plans to run.”
Scandal-scarred Attorney General Ken Paxton could be the most enticing target for Democrats. Joe Jaworski, a Galveston lawyer and former mayor of the city, has already been running against Paxton for months. Meanwhile, Lee Merritt, the famous civil rights attorney from Collin County, announced last month that he planned to challenge Paxton, though he did not immediately say whether he would run as a Democrat, Republican or something else.
Collier said he was not aware of any other serious Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor so far. Collier faced Michael Cooper, president of the Beaumont NAACP, in the 2018 primary for lieutenant governor and won by 5 points. Cooper is now running for governor.
Patrick has repeatedly said that he will run for a third term next year — and that it would be his last term as lieutenant governor if he wins.
Collier’s anticipated challenge comes as the Patrick-led Senate receives national attention for passing Senate Bill 7, which would institute new, sweeping voting restrictions in Texas. After the Senate approved the bill last week, Collier denounced it as a “significant, unnecessary attack on the right to vote of every Texan.”
Patrick’s campaign did not return a request for comment on Collier’s 2022 plans, but his office announced Monday afternoon that he would hold a Capitol news conference Tuesday morning on the voting legislation.
Collier is kicking off his likely campaign by spending the week touring West Texas, starting Tuesday in Amarillo.
Collier said his appeal in rural Texas would be “very important” to his chances in 2022. Three years ago, he got more votes than Beto O’Rourke, then the U.S. Senate nominee, in 171 of the state’s 254 counties.
Mary Duty, chairwoman of the McLennan County Democratic Party, said Collier is “not wild and crazy — he’s not a socialist.”
“He doesn’t fit the mold that Republicans like to give Democrats,” Duty said. “He’s a thoughtful man, knows what the heck he’s doing and he’s ready to take on fixing Texas. And I am ready — I’m ready to go. I’ve been excited about this possibility for months.”