McCaul, Steil unveil bipartisan bill to streamline permitting for key tech industries

To encourage companies to produce products in the United States, U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Bryan Steil (R-WI) on May 24 introduced bipartisan legislation that would accelerate and streamline permitting for key technology industries, including semiconductors. 

“Each new semiconductor fab built in the United States means not only thousands of good-paying jobs but also a more secure supply chain for critical products,” Rep. McCaul said. “This bipartisan legislation will cut red tape for manufacturing key technologies here in America — helping our economy and protecting our national security.”

H.R. 7870, which Rep. McCaul sponsored alongside three original cosponsors, including Rep. Steil and U.S. Rep. Deborah Ross (D-NC), would not alter federal environmental regulations, but aims to increase the speed and transparency of the permitting process, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers. 

“If we’ve learned anything from the supply chain shortages in the last few months, much less the last two years, it’s that we need to encourage production of goods in the United States,” said Rep. Steil. “Too often, there are bureaucratic delays preventing investment in chip manufacturing. This bill will allow producers to get up and running quickly and allow the United States to become a leader in chip manufacturing once again.”

H.R. 7870 is the companion bill to S. 3451, introduced on Jan. 10 by U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Angus King (I-ME) to utilize a streamlined permitting process known as FAST-41 that allows technology sectors to come online in an efficient manner while maintaining certain protections, according to the congressional record bill summary.

In addition to semiconductors, the technologies included in the bill are artificial intelligence and machine learning, high-performance computing and advanced computer hardware and software, quantum information science and technology, data storage and data management, and cybersecurity, the summary says.

The U.S. Senate version of the bill passed the chamber the same day it was introduced and advanced to the U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 7870 is under consideration in the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.