Whip-lash: House GOP moves to oppose CHIPS-Plus bill in rebuke to Manchin deal
House Republican leadership is urging members of its conference to vote against a bill to bolster the domestic chip manufacturing industry and fund scientific research, a reversal from its position earlier in the day that comes hours after Senate Democrats struck a deal on a multibillion-dollar reconciliation package.
In a memo to all House GOP offices Wednesday night, leadership recommended that Republican lawmakers vote against the CHIPS-Plus bill, which passed the Senate in a bipartisan vote earlier in the day.
The announcement came shortly after Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced a $369 billion deal on a climate, taxes and health care package following months of intraparty negotiations — an agreement that appears to be driving House GOP’s opposition to CHIPS-Plus.
“This legislation comes to the House precisely as Senate Democrats have allegedly struck a deal on their partisan reconciliation bill, pairing up a tone-deaf agenda that on one hand gives billions away in corporate handouts, and on the other hand undoes historic tax cuts implemented by Republicans,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) office wrote in the memo.
“The partisan Democrat agenda has given us record inflation, and now they are poised to send our country into a crushing recession,” the office added.
Republicans also expressed concerns about the bill’s impact on the deficit and inflation.
In late June, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threatened to tank the domestic semiconductor bill if Democrats went forward with a reconciliation package, which members of the caucus had been negotiating for months.
Earlier this month, Manchin said he would not support climate spending in a reconciliation package, signaling to many that the highly sought-out legislation had a small chance of crossing the finish line before the November midterm elections.
McConnell ultimately voted for the semiconductor bill on Wednesday, which passed in a bipartisan 64-33 vote. Soon after passage, however, Manchin said he struck a deal with Schumer on a slimmed-down reconciliation package, which the two Democrats later announced in a joint statement.
“After many months of negotiations, we have finalized legislative text that will invest approximately $300 billion in deficit reduction and $369.75 billion in energy security and climate change programs over the next ten years,” Schumer and Manchin wrote in a statement. “The investments will be fully paid for by closing tax loopholes on wealthy individuals and corporations.”
Members of GOP leadership did not immediately say they would whip against the bill when asked in the Capitol after Manchin’s announcement on Wednesday. A GOP leadership aide told The Hill earlier that the House Republican Conference was not whipping against the legislation.
Scalise and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), however, had already voiced their opposition to the measure.
But it quickly became clear that news of the reconciliation package would be an impediment to the semiconductor bill attracting bipartisan support.
Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) urged his colleagues to vote against the bill.
“In light of this deal, whether Republican Members support CHIPS or not (I don’t), we must ALL vote no. Passing CHIPS will pave the way for the radical Build Back Broke plan. The time to fight is now,” he wrote on Twitter.
Scalise’s office ultimately revealed the whip memo just after 9 p.m.
The reconciliation deal may influence the votes of House GOP members still deciding how to vote for the legislation. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said Wednesday evening that he was evaluating the bill, but that the Manchin bill was “a strike” against it.
When asked Wednesday if Democrats have enough votes to pass the semiconductor bill alone if Republicans were to oppose the measure, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told The Hill, “I hope so.”
Al Weaver contributed.