The Senate has passed a bill that looks to boost the auto industry’s semiconductor chip supply while also taking aim at growing technology competition in China.

The bill, which passed the Senate in a 68-32 vote, provides $52 billion in emergency funding to the Commerce Department for chip development and production through a research and incentive program that was previously authorized by Congress.

The chip allocation comes at a pivotal time as the auto industry struggles with plant shutdowns, delays, and production reductions as it faces supply disruptions due to bottlenecks of semiconductors that have been diverted to tech devices amid the pandemic.

“Today’s Senate passage of the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act moves forward historic legislation to invest in science, technology, and U.S. manufacturing that will shore up critical industries like semiconductors, artificial intelligence, advanced communications like 5G, quantum computing, biotechnology, and advanced energy,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who championed the bill, said in a statement.”

President Joe Biden also applauded the bill’s passage, saying in a statement on Tuesday, “ We are in a competition to win the 21 st century, and the starting gun has gone off. As other countries continue to invest in their own research and development, we cannot risk falling behind. 

He continued,” America must maintain its position as the most innovative and productive nation on Earth.  I look forward to working with the House of Representatives on this important bipartisan legislation, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as possible. ”

Additional provisions in the bill also prohibit social media app TikTok from being downloaded on government apps, and the ban of drones manufactured and sold by Chinese-government backed companies, Reuters reported. The bill also allows for diplomats and Taiwanese military to display their flag and to wear their uniform when in the U.S. on official business, the news outlet said.

Other provisions include new mandatory sanctions on Chinese entities that are involved in cyberattacks on the U.S. or steal U.S. intellectual property from firms located in the states. The bill also provides for export control on items that could be used to support human rights abuses, Reuters said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin warned of the bill’s passage, telling reporters in Beijing, as reported by Reuters, "We firmly object to the United States seeing China as an imaginary enemy.”

However, "If we do nothing, our days as the dominant superpower may be ending. We don’t mean to let those days end on our watch. We don’t mean to see America become a middling nation in this century," Schumer said (via Reuters).

The bill still needs to clear the House of Representatives before it goes before Biden for signing into law.

New cars got parked as they awaited for dealerships to reopen following coronavirus-imposed closures New cars got parked as they awaited for dealerships to reopen following coronavirus-imposed closures Photo: AFP / BEN STANSALL