The sometimes-arcane wheels of the congressional process are turning the House and Senate toward finishing up their work on major innovation legislation that includes a $52 billion investment in revitalizing the U.S. semiconductor industry, along with a raft of new cybersecurity programs.

The House of Representatives passed a motion March 30 requesting a conference committee to hammer out the differences between Senate- and House-passed versions of that legislation.

And on the Senate floor March 31, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the Senate will soon pass its own motion to request a conference committee, and gave the chamber a short timeline to do so.

“Earlier this week, the Senate passed a strongly bipartisan jobs and competition bill – in the works for over a year – which will help increase our domestic manufacturing, help address the critical chip shortage, and grow our economy by investing in American innovation,” Sen Schumer said.

“The House passed a motion requesting a conference committee and the Senate will soon do the same,” he added. “We’re on track to initiating a conference hopefully before the end of this work period.”

The Senate set up the motion with its passage of the America Creating Opportunities, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act earlier this week. The bill’s text had been replaced with the text of the Senate’s United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA).

With the current congressional work period set to run through April 8, that gives Congress a short period before leaving town for a state working period beginning April 11.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.