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Texas lawmakers meet with San Antonio tech companies to tout incentive program for semiconductor manufacturing

Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Michael McCaul met with local industry executives to discuss boosting semiconductor production in Texas and the US.

SAN ANTONIO — Texas lawmakers in Congress and the US Senate are pushing to bring a large section of the tech industry over to the United States and the Lone Star state.

Shortages in semiconductors, a material used to create electronic circuits, inspired action by Sen. John Cornyn and Congressman Michael McCaul to create the CHIPS for America Act.

Semiconductors are in any technology with an on and off switch as Sen. Cornyn said during a roundtable inside Tower Semiconductor's manufacturing building on Tuesday.

"Sophisticated semiconductors... that are used in everything from the car industry to the airline industry, 90 percent of it is manufactured overseas," Sen. Cornyn said.

Sen. Cornyn met with some of the executives of of Tower Semiconductor, Toyota Manufacturing Texas, and Boeing to discuss how the semiconductor shortage, which has spurred a shortage of computer chips, sending automobile prices up, could be solved with more domestic production of semiconductors.

"While we’re feeling the pinch right now when it comes to cars, because our cars have basically become computers on wheels, we’re feeling it there. I think that’s a symptom of a much larger problem," Sen. Cornyn said.

Kevin Voelkel, CEO for Toyota Manufacturing in Texas says chip shortages could increase into next year and say they understand the support for the legislation.

The CHIPS for America Act, which became law this year, creates a grant program with $52 billion in funding to incentivize the construction or expansion of semiconductor fabrication facilities in the US.

Congressman McCaul believes it could lead to job creation in the US.

“There are all these fabrication plants and companies in the space that I think want to, if they’re not in Texas already, they want to move here,” McCaul said.

Sen. Cornyn also claims that domestic production could address supply chain and national security dependency on semiconductors.

"The threat of having that supply cut off to our national security and to our economy because 90 percent of them are made overseas, is a real threat to our national security and our economy," Cornyn adds.

Congressman McCaul says he's working with House committees to add a 25% refundable tax credit as a part of the legislation. That part of the legislation could be approved at the end of the year, he says.