By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Tuesday said efforts in Congress to approve $52 billion to expand U.S. semiconductor manufacturing could slip into 2022.
Raimondo is still pushing U.S. lawmakers to pass funding to address the ongoing chip supply crisis that has cut auto production and impacted other industries. She said senior lawmakers are committed to addressing the issue.
"If it doesn't get done, on Jan. 1 we're going to go at it again," Raimondo told reporters at a joint press conference with European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager. "The only reason it wouldn't happen is that they have an incredibly busy docket" and there are only a few legislative days left.
Business leaders are increasingly pessimistic Congress can reach agreement on chips funding before they leave for the holidays.
On Nov. 17, House and Senate leaders said they would negotiate toward final agreement on a bill to boost U.S. technology competitiveness with China and semiconductor manufacturing.
The Senate approved legislation in June to award $52 billion for semiconductor manufacturing and authorize $190 billion to strengthen U.S. technology and research.
Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, who chairs the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, said Thursday at a hearing she backs funding but said "a one-time infusion of funding will not be enough to maintain U.S. leadership in microelectronics innovation."
Representative Frank Lucas, the top Republican on the panel, said lawmakers have "been ready to go for months....Time is short to address our future domestic chip needs. We need to act now because I can tell you that our competitors aren’t waiting."
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)