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Schumer wants to limit government use of Chinese-made semiconductor chips

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Ellen Abbott / WRVO News Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) holds a bottle of insulin during a stop in Syracuse Wednesday

WRVO - As the semiconductor chip industry takes off in New York, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is worried about a potential threat from China, and is ready to take action.

The last time Schumer was in central New York, he brought news of Micron, the tech company that’s investing $100 billion to build a chip manufacturing complex near Syracuse. Two weeks later, he’s launching a push to limit the use of semiconductor chips made in China.

Schumer said major Chinese companies, linked to the Chinese Communist Party, are actively selling chips to companies that do business with the federal government.

So he’s proposing to add a provision to this year’s defense bill to limit that.

"When the federal government is buying a product or service, we block the use of chips from three of the biggest and most dangerous Chinese companies in the game,” said Schumer. “Something called SMIC. That’s the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation. Something called, CXMT, ChangXin Memory Technologies and YMTC, Yangtze Memory Technologies.”

Schumer said he has bipartisan support for the initiative, noting it has real national security implications.

“Having Chinese chips in our federal supply chains is a direct threat to our national security,” Schumer said. “It exposes our military and other critical infrastructure to cyberattacks, undermines data privacy, and if we start depending on their chips and they shut off the supply, we’re cooked. So we can’t allow that to happen.”

Currently there are no restrictions when it comes to the federal government buying semiconductor technology. Scjhumer said this will boost demand for more domestically made microchips, including those made in Upstate New York. That sector has been growing in the wake of the CHIPs and Science Act being passed earlier this year, which encourages domestic chip manufacturing.