Could a chip manufacturer be lured to new NJ tech hub? Biden official says yes.

Legislation to spend $ 52 billion to encourage semiconductor manufacturers to set up shop in the US is now being written by House and Senate negotiators.

And the final version could be good news for New Jersey, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Tuesday.

On a conference call with reporters from New Jersey and New York, Raimondo singled out the new New Jersey Innovation and Technology Hub in New Brunswick as a potential site for chip production, saying it could be an attractive place to locate.

“Semiconductor demand is through the roof,” Raimondo said. “These companies are definitely going to make investments in expanding their facilities and they want to do this in the United States.”

The legislation is designed to help the US better compete with China by offering incentives to chip manufacturers to make their products domestically. That would help improve a supply chain that relies on foreign manufacturing and has led to shortages of automobiles and other products that rely on computer chips.

And it would improve national security by making the US less dependent on foreign manufacturers, Raimondo said.

“Other countries are all wooing these same companies,” she said. “What we’ve heard from these companies is if Congress doesn’t quickly pass this act, those companies are going to have no other choice but to expand their facilities in these other countries. There is a very, very real risk that these companies are not going to build in America. ”

Gov. Phil Murphy has weighed in as well, joining Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson in urging Congress to pass the legislation. Murphy is vice chair of the National Governors Association, and Hutchinson is chair.

House Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone Jr., one of the congressional negotiators, welcomed the idea of ​​opening a semiconductor manufacturing plant in the Garden State, including near the new technology center.

When completed at an estimated cost of $ 665 million, the Hub will provide 550,000 square feet of space for medical learning, research and innovation.

“New Jersey would certainly make an ideal home for any company that wants to utilize our state’s well-known reputation in research, innovation, and manufacturing,” said Pallone, D-6th Dist.

Besides Pallone, Senate Foreign Relations Chair Robert Menendez and Reps. Donald Norcross, D-1st Dist., And Tom Malinowski, D-7th Dist., Are among the lawmakers who are attempting to craft a bill that can pass the House and get 60 votes in the Senate.

That means that the larger House bill will have to be pared down to win Senate support, Raimondo said.

“The House act was significantly larger and broader than the Senate act,” Raimondo said. “That’s why they’re at the conference table now.”

Among the provisions that could be on the chopping block is allowing federally regulated banks to provide checking accounts, credit cards and other financial services to legal cannabis businesses.

The House has added the Secure and Fair Enforcement, or SAFE, Banking Act to other pieces of legislation as well, but the Senate has insisted each time that its provisions be left out of the final bill. This could be no different.

“We feel very, very strongly the investment chips must happen and must happen quickly, and the other research must happen and must happen quickly,” Raimondo said. “Let’s quickly find common ground. And get it to the president’s desk. ”

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Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at jsalant@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him at @JDSalant.

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