GEORGIA (WRBL) – The Senate passed The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a legislation that will help boost American innovation and scientific research and development. The expedited passage of this bill came after the two-day shutdown of KIA Georgia in West Point.
KIA Georgia shut down for two days last month because of the world-wide semiconductor shortage. Semiconductors are essential to the approximately 340,000 KIA cars made in West Point, Ga. each year.
The bill will invest $52 billion into boosting domestic semiconductor manufacturing to avoid future shutdowns.
“Georgians sent us here to fight for jobs and opportunity, and that’s why Senator Reverend Warnock and I united to help push this vital bill over the line and boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing — because Georgia jobs were on the line. I thank our colleagues for heeding our call and moving swiftly to pass this bill,” said Senator Ossoff.
According to Senator Warnock in his visit to KIA Georgia last week, closing the KIA facility for two days affected families across the state, KIA Georgia produces a car every 58 seconds. The Senators believed the United States was too dependent on foreign suppliers. They also believed the COVID-19 pandemic lead to extra delays in the global supply chain leading them to expedite passage of the bill.
The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act will avoid future shutdowns and create a Supply Chain Resiliency Program to avoid future shortages of essential materials like semiconductors.
“Addressing our domestic semiconductor shortage is critical to keeping companies in Georgia strong and Georgia workers on the job. That’s why I fought in the Commerce committee to make sure this legislation promotes and funds efforts to strengthen our nation’s semiconductor production and supply chain, and I was proud to partner with my brother Senator Ossoff to include additional key provisions that will help ensure what happened to the workers at the Kia factory in West Point last month never happens again,” said Sen. Warnock.
According to a statement released by the Vice President of Government Affairs, KIA Georgia is grateful to Ossoff and Warnock for the expedited passage of the bill.
“The shortage of semiconductor chips is limiting auto production across the United States. Our team at Kia Georgia has been diligently working with our suppliers and our staff to minimize any such disruption, but despite all best efforts, was forced to temporarily suspend production last month. We appreciate the efforts of Georgia Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock as they work to provide all U.S. manufacturers access to these important components soon and in the future,” said Christopher Wenk, Vice President, Government Affairs, Kia Corporation.