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Intel, TSMC, and Samsung are demanding Biden double the funds on hand for chips, Raimondo says

Daniel Nenni

Staff member
Gina Raimondo speaking at a podium

Advanced semiconductor companies have requested more than double the amount of available federal funds for projects in the US, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said, referring to a program designed to bring chip manufacturing back to American soil.

Leading-edge firms — which include Intel Corp., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics Co. — are seeking more than $70 billion from the 2022 Chips Act, Raimondo said Monday in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

The legislation set aside $39 billion in grants — plus loans and loan guarantees valued at $75 billion — to revitalize US semiconductor manufacturing after decades of production abroad. The Commerce Department plans to spend $28 billion of that $39 billion pool on leading-edge facilities, Raimondo said.

Intel is in talks with President Joe Biden’s administration for more than $10 billion in incentives spread across grants and loans, Bloomberg reported earlier this month. US officials aim to announce major awards, including Intel’s, by the end of March.

Raimondo also said her department will surpass a minimum $2 billion in spending on older-generation chips, which are still essential to the global economy. The agency has announced three awards so far, totaling more than $1.5 billion, to companies that produce those mature semiconductor models.

More than 600 firms have expressed interest in the program, Raimondo said Monday, emphasizing that “we’re gonna have to say no to excellent companies.” But the agency plans to prioritize smaller grants to smaller applicants alongside multi-billion dollar awards expected for industry giants. They will also prioritize projects that will be complete by 2030, Raimondo said.

Chip companies have invested more than $200 billion in the US “before we put out a single dollar,” Raimondo said. The announced awards are still preliminary, pending additional due diligence, and the money will be disbursed over time contingent on companies meeting negotiated benchmarks.

All told, Raimondo said, the US is on track to produce 20% of the world’s advanced logic chips by the end of the decade. Asked whether the Chips Act has sufficient funding to achieve that goal, she said, “Yes, I think there’s enough money to achieve that goal. It doesn’t mean that at some future date, we don’t need what some call a Chips Two.”

$70B is about $200 per capita in the US. I see a lot of pros and cons to this approach.
The CHIPS Act is not the most incompetently conceived and managed US federal program I've read about, that distinction must easily go to the COVID relief programs that the General Accountability Office has said have lost about $135B to fraud, but the Chips Act is still high on list for being ineffective and reflecting poorly on our government's sense of urgency and efficiency.