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Biden signs CHIPS and Science Act, scores another bipartisan win

For a White House eager to show meaningful progress on bipartisan measures that will make a difference, there’s a growing list of credible success stories.


Some of President Joe Biden’s most notable accomplishments happened without any Republican support. The American Rescue Plan, for example, passed last year with zero GOP votes — though some Republicans were eager to take credit for it anyway — and the Inflation Reduction Act is similarly advancing along party lines.

But by any fair measure, the White House has also scored far more bipartisan wins than expected over the last year and a half. CNN’s Dana Bash asked Sen. Lindsey Graham over the weekend whether Biden deserves credit for trying to get legislation passed “in a bipartisan way.” The South Carolina Republican conceded, “Yes, he signed things that made sense.”

One of those things was signed into law this morning. CNBC reported:

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a bipartisan bill that aims to strengthen U.S. competitiveness with China by investing billions of dollars in domestic semiconductor manufacturing and science research.... The bill, dubbed the CHIPS and Science Act, includes more than $52 billion for U.S. companies producing computer chips, as well as billions more in tax credits to encourage investment in semiconductor manufacturing. It also provides tens of billions of dollars to fund scientific research and development, and to spur the innovation and development of other U.S. tech.

It is, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer put it the other day, one of the largest investments in American manufacturing and science “in a generation.”

This is also the legislation that passed the Senate with 17 Republican votes and the House with 24 Republican votes, making it one of the more bipartisan measures of the current Congress.

But stepping back, what’s striking is the degree to which these circumstances are familiar. Last week, for example, there was a bipartisan Senate vote on strengthening NATO by approving the accession of Sweden and Finland, and that measure was approved with 95 votes out of 100.

Around the same time, there was bipartisan support for the PACT Act — a significant expansion of veterans’ benefits — which Biden will also sign into law this week.

That came on the heels of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act — the first major legislation to address gun violence in nearly three decades — which, as the name implies, also passed with some bipartisan backing.

Circling back to our earlier coverage, the list keeps going. In March, for example, both parties agreed on an important Postal Service Reform Act, which Biden was only too pleased to sign into law. Before that, a bill on forced arbitration was also a worthwhile breakthrough, as was the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act. The parties also reached an agreement on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which was added to a larger spending package that passed.

What’s more, it was last fall when the president also signed into law a significant, bipartisan infrastructure package.

What’s more, there may yet be a couple more: Democratic leaders have vowed to hold votes on marriage equality and reforming the Electoral Count Act, and there’s decent odds that these bills might actually pass.

For a White House eager to show that Biden and Democratic leaders can make meaningful progress on bipartisan measures that will make a difference, there’s a growing list of credible success stories.