Sanders wants government to get ‘piece’ of US semiconductor companies in exchange for aid

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says the U.S. federal government should get a “piece” of U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturers such as Intel Corporation in exchange for tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer assistance.

Sanders says he wants a vote on an amendment to the Endless Frontier Act, which is now on the Senate floor, to give the federal government a share of the profits that U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturers reap if Congress agrees to invest more than $50 billion in the industry.

“The amendment is similar to what was in the CARES [Act] and what it basically says is we shouldn’t be giving out $53 billion to some very large profitable corporations and get nothing in return so we’re talking about warrants where we would get a piece of the action,” Sanders told The Hill on Tuesday.

The Vermont senator said it’s consistent “with what we’ve done previously.”

The $2.2. trillion CARES Act, which Congress passed in March of last year to help boost the economy in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, included billions of dollars in assistance to the airline industry. It included a provision that gave the federal government the ability to secure nonvoting equity shares, known as warrants, in airlines that accepted federal aid.

A stock warrant is a contract that allows an investor to purchase a share of a company at an agreed-to price.

Sanders said: “There has to be some negotiation and the taxpayers have got to get something in return.”

But Sanders doesn’t know whether his amendment will get a vote on the Senate floor.

“At this point, I don’t know. We’re working on it.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) hailed the $52 billion in assistance to semiconductor manufacturing companies as a major feature of a substitute amendment he filed last week. 

“We have all heard about auto plants in our states that are closed or operating at reduced capacity because they can’t get the chips. The shortage in our tech industry also shows how vulnerable our supply chains are,” Schumer said on the floor last week. “We simply cannot rely on foreign processors for chips.” 

Tags Bernie Sanders Charles Schumer Development Intel relief bill Semiconductor Senate Technology
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