Photo by Camaron Stevenson | The Copper Courier Photo by Camaron Stevenson | The Copper Courier

Every Arizona Republican in the US House last week voted against a bill to strengthen American supply chains and make the country more economically competitive with China.

In rejecting the America COMPETES Act, Reps. Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Debbie Lesko, and David Schweikert voted against investments in research, workers, and domestic manufacturing.

The bill would invest:

  • $160 billion to improve American scientific research and innovation
  • $52 billion to make semiconductor chips–which are critical for the production of smartphones, cars, and medical equipment, but have been in short supply over the past year.
  • $45 billion to improve supply chains for critical items

Arizona Republicans voted against the bill even though it could be a huge win for Arizona. The semiconductor industry employs nearly 29,000 people in the state and is Arizona’s top-ranked export by value, according to a report by the Semiconductor Industry Association, which has endorsed the bill.

In contrast, every single Arizona Democrat voted for the bill. 

“We’ve worked hard to make Arizona—and especially the East Valley—a major tech hub, anchored and supported by the semiconductor manufacturing industry. This bill invests big time in domestic research and production, creating good-paying jobs and [solidifying] our state’s reputation as a destination for high-tech companies,” Phoenix-area Democrat Greg Stanton in a statement.

The bill also includes an amendment from Stanton which protects the US from Chinese government-backed businesses that wrongfully influence US markets, steal intellectual property, or suppress competition.

The COMPETES Act also includes Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva’s amendment to create the Office of Education Technology in the Bureau of Indian Education. 

“The pandemic highlighted the persisting inequities in our education system, especially among tribes,” Grijalva said in a statement. “This bill includes elements to improve educational outcomes and capacity at every level. I’m proud that we’re including improvements for tribal students.”

The America COMPETES Act will now go to the Senate, which passed a similar bill co-sponsored by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema last summer. Lawmakers in the two chambers will now begin a joint House-Senate conference to reconcile the differences between the two versions.