As Congress prepares to consider a multibillion-dollar semiconductor investment package designed to expand American independence from China, Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and senator. Gary PetersGary PetersHillicon Valley – Biden Budget Increases Antitrust Funding (D-Mich.) argue that domestic production of electric and autonomous vehicles should be treated as another essential element of global competition.
“Every day we’re doing nothing and falling behind, falling behind somewhere else and the rest of the world,” Latta said Tuesday at The Hill’s “Driving Tomorrow EVs and AVs” event.
The latest version of Latta’s Self Drive Act would set federal safety and cybersecurity standards for automated vehicles. His original bill failed to gain traction after passing the House in 2017.
The Ohio Republican has since touted his bill as an investment in the nation’s supply of emerging technologies for the auto industry, building on the momentum of the Biden-backed semiconductor package, which the leader majority in the Senate chuck schumerChuck SchumerWhy does Congress want China to win? Romney working on GOP counter-offer to new Dem COVID-19 funding plan Advocacy groups: Title 42 ‘undermines our trust in administration’ MORE (DN.Y) introduced with a similar purpose.
Among other investments in research and development, Schumer’s bill would inject $52 billion into the domestic development of computer chips, needed to produce cars and cellphones, amid a global chip shortage.
House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHealth Care – Biden’s budget gears up for next pandemic This week: House set to vote on marijuana legalization bill House set to pass legalizing bill marijuana MORE (D-Md.) told reporters the House could vote this week to begin formal negotiations on the semiconductor bill.
Reliance on international computer chip makers has led several U.S. automakers to shutter production lines as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated supply chain backlogs.
Latta said he foresees the United States’ reliance on China and other countries to mine lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite and manganese – minerals needed for production. batteries used in electric vehicles – could lead to similar shutdowns.
China refines two-thirds of the world’s lithium and is the largest investor in lithium mines worldwide, according to the US Geological Survey 2022.
“It’s a homeland security issue,” said Peters, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “It’s a matter of national security. We need to have supply chains that are not only efficient, but resilient.
Latta promoted the potential of his bill to improve road safety and accessibility for older people and people with disabilities. Some opponents have argued that it could take away jobs from truckers, while others have noted that the United States lacks the mining infrastructure to mass-produce electric and self-driving vehicles.
“We had a hearing less than three weeks ago, four weeks ago and that was one of the questions that came up: ‘How long would it take to open a mine in this country?'” , Latta said. “It will be about 10 years by the time we find the site, go through the regulatory process. Ten years is a long time.”
Peters, who has crafted his own bipartisan autonomous vehicle legislation, said he thinks it’s “extremely important” that the US government immediately invest in its technology infrastructure.
“Our competitors around the world are realizing that the future of mobility around the world is in autonomous vehicles,” Peters said. “The Chinese are investing colossal sums in this technology. We don’t want them to get too far ahead where we can’t catch up.