FULL EPISODE: 8/15/21 Rep. Debbie Dingell and Axios’ Chief Tech Correspondent Ina Fried on the microchip shortage

Published: Aug. 14, 2021 at 11:22 PM EDT
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Washington, D.C. – Greta Van Susteren interviewed Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) on the topic of the global semiconductor chip shortage for Gray Television’s “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren” airing Sunday, August 15, 2021. The episode will also feature discussions with Axios Chief Technology Correspondent Ina Fried and WILX-TV (Lansing, Mich.) reporter Cody Butler about the effects of the chip shortage on everything from household appliance manufacturing to the auto industry.

Rep. Dingell told Van Susteren that the chip shortage, and its impact on American companies, is not just a Midwest issue but a national security issue that “every one of us needs to care about.”

On whether the House would pass the $2 billion bill the congresswoman introduced in July to fund domestic semiconductor manufacturing, Dingell said, “for some reason, when you really try to address this, really try to address very specific policies, everybody’s got a million reasons for it not to happen.” Still, Dingell said she was hopeful that Congress would take action this year.

“It’s people that live in my community that are laid off right now. Not because there isn’t demand for the product, but because they can’t build the product because we simply don’t have those chips,” said Dingell. “It’s unacceptable, and we need to do something about it.”

Interview highlights are below.

Rep. Debbie Dingell Highlights

On the semiconductor chip shortage

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.)

I want to bring that production back to this country. In 1990, we made 37% of the chips globally. And now we’re down to close to just 10%. Those are jobs and it’s a national security issue. I obviously, come from Michigan. I’m very concerned about the number of plants that are closed and my UAW workers that have been laid off. And we want to be competitive, but it’s a Silicon Valley issue as much as it’s a Midwest issue.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.)

I don’t understand why more people don’t care. A union worker said to me, it was actually a union president who said, “Many people are focused on corporate profits.” And we’re paying more for some of these products right now, because there’s a shortage, the law of supply and demand. But people aren’t focused on the fact that plants are closed. People are on layoffs.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.)

There are people hurting and we’re paying more because of the law of supply and demand. There’s a shortage. You pay more when there’s less product. It’s not inflation. This one’s the law of supply and demand.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.)

We need to be bringing supply chains back. And I think something as simple as how dependent we were on a foreign country: China, which can use that, by the way, at some point to cause us great harm for masks and gloves and hospital gowns. We weren’t making them here in this country.

On whether Congress will act

Greta Van Susteren

You recently introduced legislation to give incentives to make semiconductors here in the United States. And I guess it sort of parallels the legislation was introduced a month earlier in the Senate. And I read that you’re trying to get leadership to sort of bring it to the floor. What’s the delay, since this is an obviously urgent issue?

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.)

Well, it’s already passed the Senate. Quite frankly, it was in a bill that passed there a month ago.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.)

There’s a lot of discussions going on, as you know. As we’re looking at both the jobs bill and the caregiving bills that are going to be ... And the infrastructure bill, bipartisan passed the Senate will come over to the House. That some of these things are going to be included in.

Greta Van Susteren

But do you find any resistance? I mean, you’ve obviously focused on the semiconductor in what you’re doing, but do you find any resistance from your colleagues? And the reason I ask is because we see the sort of the slippery slope, we used to make so many of these and now we make so little. It’s a national security issue. It’s jobs. It’s a lot of things. Here we are in August of 2021 and we find ourselves behind the eightball on these.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.)

When I talk to anybody, Republican or Democrat. They agree with me that we’ve got to bring manufacturing back. I think a lot of people ... There are parts for our military vehicles, airplanes, and chips that we can’t replace with American-made products. We have to go to another country, that is a national security issue. But for some reason, when you really try to address this, really try to address very specific policies, everybody’s got a million reasons for it not to happen.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.)

We are letting China beat us in too many areas competitively. And by the way, this was an area I agreed with President Trump. If you recall, I told you five years ago, he could become president because he was talking about these issues and other people weren’t. I’m hopeful that we’re going to be able to get attention on this and actually, finally do something yet this year in Congress, but you’re even talking about it helps again, draw attention to an issue that isn’t just a Midwest issue. It is a national security issue and every one of us needs to care about it.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.)

I hope that by the fall and the end of this year, we will have taken some action.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.)

Senator Schumer asked me for help on trying to get this through the House. And it was something I said, “You can count on me for it, because this is the people that I represent.” It’s people that live in my community that are laid off right now. Not because there isn’t demand for the product, but because they can’t build the product because we simply don’t have those chips. It’s unacceptable, and we need to do something about it.


About Greta Van Susteren:

Greta Van Susteren is the Chief Political Analyst for Gray Media and host of Full Court Press. Ms. Van Susteren is a veteran of Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN. Her prime-time Fox News Channel Show, “On the Record,” was number 1 in its time slot for 14 1⁄2 years. Before joining Fox News, she hosted CNN’s prime-time news and analysis program, “The Point with Greta Van Susteren,” and co-hosted the network’s daily legal analysis show, “Burden of Proof.” Her legal analysis for CNN’s coverage of Election 2000 earned her the American Bar Association’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Journalism. She continues to host the weekly 30-minute program “Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren” on Voice of America, which broadcasts exclusively outside of the United States.

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