BURLINGTON, Vt., July 15 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Friday issued the following statement as Congress tries to hand a $53 billion blank check to profitable microchip and semiconductor companies:
“There is no debate that the microchip and semiconductor shortage is a dire threat to our nation. It is costing American workers good paying jobs and raising prices for families. It is making it harder for businesses to manufacture cars, cellphones and life-saving medical equipment. It is also putting our national security at risk.
“The microchip industry helped cause this crisis by, over the last 20 years, shutting down 780 plants here and eliminating 150,000 good-paying jobs. The question before us now is whether these extremely profitable companies will work with the U.S. government on a solution to rebuild the U.S. microchip industry which is fair to the taxpayers of this country, or whether they will continue to demand a $53 billion bribe to stay here. That is the main issue involved in the debate over the Chip legislation which may be on the floor of the Senate as early as next week.
“What I cannot understand is why so many in Congress are so eager to pay this bribe. When the government adopts an industrial policy that socializes all the risk and privatizes all the profits, that is crony capitalism. The five biggest semi-conductor companies that will likely receive the lion’s share of this taxpayer handout, Intel, Texas Instruments, Micron Technology, Global Foundries and Samsung, made $70 billion in profits last year. Does it sound like these companies really need corporate welfare?
“I’m opposed to this legislation in any form until these conditions are met: companies must agree to issue warrants or equity stakes to the federal government; they must commit to not buying back their own stock, outsourcing American jobs overseas or repealing existing collective bargaining agreements; and they must remain neutral in any union organizing efforts. The demands I’m making are not radical. They are the same conditions that were included in the CARES Act, which passed the Senate 96-0.
“Let us rebuild the U.S. microchip industry, but let’s do it in a way that benefits all of our society, not just a handful of wealthy, profitable and powerful corporations.”