ICYMI: Sen. Kelly Discusses His Microchip Manufacturing Bill & Outcompeting China in Fast Company Interview

“Some people think this is optional. This is not optional…Our national security is at stake”

In case you missed it, Fast Company spoke with Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, a chief negotiator of the CHIPS Act of 2022, to discuss his microchip manufacturing bill recently passed by the House and Senate and expected to be signed into law soon. In the interview, Kelly, a Navy combat veteran, highlighted how his bill will help the United States outcompete China, attract more semiconductor companies in Arizona, protect our national security, strengthen supply chains, and lower costs for Americans. 

For over a year, Kelly championed the three pieces of legislation that form the backbone of the bill – helping to craft the bill’s $52 billion plan to boost domestic microchip manufacturing, originally cosponsoring the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, and leading the FABS Act. This legislation will help establish Arizona as a global hub for microelectronics research, development, testing, manufacturing, and packaging.

Read key excerpts from Kelly’s interview with Fast Company below:

On lowering costs and tackling the global microchip shortage:

It’s really good news for the country. This is going to help bring down costs of tens of thousands of consumer products. I’d say at the top of the list for people is cars; even the cost of used cars has gone up because of the shortage of semiconductor chips. Production lines have stopped in some cases because they can’t get chips. 

So this will have a very positive impact on how individuals manage their personal finances, but also this is a really big deal for our national security. We cannot allow China to become a leader in the manufacturing of semiconductor chips. […]

On his plan to ensure the United States outcompetes China:

We’re covering the whole universe of microchip manufacturing. Arizona will become a hub in the United States. Other states will attract semiconductor manufacturing—I would say Texas, Ohio, New York. This is going to benefit the nation’s economy, and it’s going to help us be secure as a nation.

China has a very ambitious plan to manufacture better microchips. They make a lot of what we would call legacy chips, you know, the thing that goes in your washing machine. But they recently manufactured a 10-nanometer microchip, so they took a leap of a couple generations. They often learn how to do this by stealing the intellectual property of other companies in other countries, including in the United States. They have a habit of doing this, and they’ve got a plan to be a leader in the manufacturing of semiconductors.

Well, now we have a plan. Our plan is going to attract companies. Companies want to be here. They don’t want to be in China. But this legislation is going to help them make a decision to build these fabrication facilities here.

On strengthening supply chains and protecting national security:

[…] DoD needs to have a ready supply, and it shouldn’t be a supply that has to come across an ocean. These supply chains that go across the Pacific Ocean for stuff that we need for our national security, this is a big problem. 

If the Chinese invaded Taiwan, and we didn’t have access to semiconductor chips from Taiwan, the estimate is that, in a year or two, we would lose 10% of our GDP because we wouldn’t have access to semiconductor chips. You can’t make a phone. You can’t make fighter airplanes. You can’t make satellites, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, just basically anything that has any electronics in it.

We’ve been working on this legislation for a year. I never looked at this thing as optional. Some people think this is optional. This is not optional. This is, our national security is at stake when we’re talking about having access to the best chips in the world. […]

To read Fast Company’s full interview with Kelly, click HERE.