Michigan US Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters are among about a dozen from around the country asking for swift and decisive action to deal with a developing shortage of semiconductors.  They are directly asking the Biden administration to use every avenue possible to deal with the issue. It is already impacting vehicle production lines at a time when they are working hard to recover from the earlier COVID-19 virus outbreak shutdowns. Some car and truck assembly lines are shutting down. They can’t roll them off the line without key components. But it goes further than that. The shortage affects many electronic devices, and of course computers and smartphones. Some of the early indicators of the problem developing were spotted early last year.

The group of Senators getting involved want President Biden to dust off the National Defense Authorization Act to get to the heart of things. Exactly what the government can do to boost semiconductor production and safeguard the supply lines for the auto industry remains a bit fuzzy.  But there is no denying that the semiconductors needed to keep the assembly lines moving are key. Some estimates put the value of electronics in new cars and trucks at up around 40% of the total cost of production. They are that much a part of the mix now.

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Quoting from the Senator’s letter to the Biden administration, “All sectors of the economy need access to semiconductor chips, however, we ask that the auto industry be recognized as the significant semiconductor consumer it is in any engagement. They continue, “We also strongly urge you to support efforts to secure the necessary funding to swiftly implement the semiconductor-related provisions in the most recent National Defense Authorization Act, which would boost the production of semiconductor manufacturing and incent the domestic production of semiconductors in the future. While this is not an immediate fix, this engagement is also vital to maintain the competitive advantage of American auto manufacturing.”

And while people scramble, more auto production lines may be idled.

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