November 18, 2022
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) led Senators Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Representatives Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), Susie Lee (D-Nev.), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) in a letter urging the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the U.S. Department of Commerce to continue to bolster microchip supply chains that are vital to U.S. military readiness and national security. In the letter, the lawmakers call on these agencies to use their authority to support American companies producing computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines that rely on microchips. CNC machines are vital to the manufacturing of everything from cars and airplanes to military and medical equipment.
The CNC manufacturing industry supports our economy and our national security. Haas Automation, which is the last major U.S. builder of CNC machine tools, employs 1,700 high-skilled American workers, and is currently constructing a 2.2-million-square-foot plant in Henderson, Nevada that will create over 500 new jobs. Without federal assistance through the Defense Production Act to establish a guaranteed microchip supply chain to sustain their operations while domestic chip manufacturing ramps up, Haas and other companies across the country could have to slow down or even halt production due to critical chip shortages.
“We respectfully seek your agencies’ continued leadership and assistance in considering expanded Defense Production Act Title I authority to ensure needed supplies of microelectronics to sustain production lines by the U.S. computer numerically controlled (CNC) manufacturing base,” wrote the lawmakers.
“Essential to U.S. national security, the U.S. CNC manufacturing base faces acute production shutdowns . . . due to insufficient chip supplies through its U.S. distribution channels,” the lawmakers continued. “The U.S. requires a robust CNC manufacturing base to maintain military readiness and the U.S. economy, which is increasingly faced with Chinese and other foreign competitors that threaten U.S. national security. With increased domestic chip production capacity from the CHIPS Act not being felt for another 2-3 years, the U.S. CNC manufacturing base needs immediate, short-term relief to sustain production until U.S. chip manufacturing ramps up production.”
The full letter can be found here.
Through her Innovation State Initiative, Senator Cortez Masto has been working to boost both America’s and Nevada’s competitiveness, alleviate supply chain backlogs, and counter the Chinese government’s efforts to influence technology, research, and labor standards. She helped pass the Chips and Science Act to support the U.S. semiconductor manufacturing industry as well as her bipartisan National Science, Innovation, and Technology Strategy Act to require a national strategy and regular national reviews of vital technologies, and her bipartisan legislation to help ensure the Chinese government isn’t exerting undue influence on international technology standards-setting was signed into law in 2020. She’s also pressed for the passage of additional investments in semiconductors. Last year, Cortez Masto’s bills to promote a domestic critical mineral supply chain, expand domestic manufacturing in batteries, and unlock greater smarter transportation technologies were included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.