Hassan celebrates, all GOP foes pan China competition reform bill

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Aug. 1—CONCORD — Sen. Maggie Hassan on Monday celebrated a bill on President Joe Biden's desk that will ramp up America's technology competition with China, while all of her major Republican opponents condemned her role in the legislation.

Because Biden has COVID-19, it's uncertain when he will sign the Chips and Science Act of 2022, which creates incentives for American companies to make their own semiconductor chips and reduce U.S. reliance on China and Korea for supply.

Biden said his signature was inevitable when he praised the U.S. House's passage last Thursday of the legislation Hassan first co-sponsored in 2021.

"I am proud to have worked with my Republican and Democratic colleagues alike to develop this bill that will soon be signed into law and will significantly strengthen our economic and national security," Hassan said in a statement.

The state's junior senator has claimed the bill will help address runaway inflation, considering that scarce chip supplies have driven up the price of everything from cars and microwaves to military equipment.

"We need to be able to make these things ourselves," Hassan said.

The major GOP candidates jostling to take on Hassan in November all panned the legislation as more reckless spending and improper government interference in the free market.

State Senate President Chuck Morse, a Salem Republican and Senate contender, came out against the bill Monday when the Union Leader asked for comment on it.

"I think it's ridiculous for Maggie Hassan and Joe Biden to claim that borrowing billions of dollars from China to spend even more money during the Biden/Hassan inflationary crisis will somehow make us more competitive with China," Morse said in a statement.

Hassan: Opposition 'ridiculous'

Hassan fired back late Monday.

"I worked with Republicans to pass this legislation because I knew it would would strengthen our national security and lower costs, and it's ridiculous that my opponents oppose this vital legislation that earned the support of 17 Republican senators," Hassan said.

The $280 billion bill also had the backing of 24 House Republicans.

GOP Senate hopeful Bruce Fenton of Durham, a bitcoin millionaire, urged Congress to adopt a laissez-faire economic policy.

"We really don't need government in the business of semiconductors or anything else. If politicians want to help, the best thing they can do is get out of the way of business and reduce regulations and taxes," Fenton said.

Former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, a GOP Senate candidate, said the industry already was addressing, committing to spend $80 billion more on U.S. chip manufacturing.

"Even worse, the same companies receiving billions in handouts from the government will soon have to pay billions more in taxes under Biden and Hassan's massive new $313 billion alternative minimum tax, which would hit manufacturing companies the hardest," Smith said.

More no's from foes

Retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc of Stratham and a GOP Senate hopeful, elaborated on his initial tweet when he called it a "Hell no" bill.

"I'm still and always will be a 'Hell No,' " Bolduc said. " It shouldn't take an advanced degree in economics to understand that billions in additional spending won't help inflation."

Vikram Mansharamani, a Lincoln entrepreneur and GOP Senate candidate, endorsed an earlier version of the bill in a Concord Monitor commentary in April 2021.

During an appearance on WMUR-TV's CloseUp last Sunday, he sounded as if he was endorsing it.

But in a statement Monday, Mansharamani said he would have voted no on what he called " typical legislation from career politicians: it sounds good but it is packed with problems."

"It's government spending that will likely exacerbate our inflation problem," Mansharamani said.

In addition to spending $52 billion on the incentives to build more semiconductors, Hassan pointed to other programs popular with New Hampshire companies that will receive more money under the bill.

These include the Manufacturing Extension Partnership in New Hampshire and Manufacturing USA, which includes Manchester's Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), the New Hampshire EPSCoR program that funds research and education at New Hampshire universities.

James Li, director of the microelectronics sector at BAE Systems called the bill "mission critical."

klandrigan@unionleader.com