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GlobalFoundries Awarded $1.5 Billion by U.S.

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The Biden administration has announced a landmark $1.5 billion award to the New York-based chipmaker GlobalFoundries. This substantial grant is one of the first sizable awards from a government program aimed at revitalizing semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. The plan also includes an additional $1.6 billion in federal loans, with the grants expected to triple GlobalFoundries’ production capacity in the state of New York over the next ten years.

This funding represents a concerted effort by the Biden administration and bipartisan lawmakers to revitalize American semiconductor manufacturing. Currently, just 12 percent of chips are made in the United States, with the majority manufactured in Asia. The country’s reliance on foreign sources of chips became evident during the early stages of the pandemic, when critical chip shortages forced automakers and other manufacturers to delay or shut down production.

The award to GlobalFoundries will not only assist the company in expanding its existing facility in Malta, N.Y., but it will also allow for the construction of a new facility to manufacture critical chips not currently produced in the United States. This includes a new class of semiconductors designed for use in satellites due to their ability to withstand high doses of radiation.

Additionally, the funding will be used to upgrade the company’s operations in Vermont, creating the first U.S. facility capable of producing a type of chip used in electric vehicles, the power grid, and 5G and 6G smartphones. Without this investment, the Vermont facility would have faced closure.

The award to GlobalFoundries comes as part of the Biden administration’s broader effort to reinvigorate American semiconductor manufacturing. This push was necessitated by a global chip shortage during the pandemic, which led to shutdowns, layoffs, and furloughs at American auto manufacturing plants, impacting the U.S. economy and causing prices for new and used cars to skyrocket.

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Gina Raimondo, the secretary of commerce, noted that the award to GlobalFoundries would help ensure a stable supply of chips for key auto suppliers and manufacturers while preventing supply chain disruptions. The investment in the company is also expected to create 9,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent manufacturing jobs.

Furthermore, GlobalFoundries will receive the government’s first grant specifically allocated for workforce development, with $10 million earmarked to support a more than $60 million investment from the company to train new workers for the semiconductor industry. Lack of trained workers has been a commonly cited issue for chipmakers operating in the United States.

It is important to note that while the announcement represents a significant step, it is still a preliminary agreement, and the company will be subject to a period of due diligence, including meeting certain construction and production milestones.

GlobalFoundries, a company that builds chips for other companies that design and market them, was initially formed from former operations of Advanced Micro Devices. The company opened a new factory in Malta, N.Y. in 2012 and took over former IBM operations in 2014. The Vermont factory is known for producing radio chips used in smartphones and military hardware.

In a strategic shift in 2018, GlobalFoundries decided to focus on older manufacturing technology to produce chips for cars, consumer appliances, and industrial and defense applications. This made the company a key player in manufacturing legacy chips, which are relatively inexpensive and used in vital products, yet faced disruptions during the pandemic-driven chip shortage.

This investment in GlobalFoundries comes as the U.S. government seeks to address concerns about China’s growing capabilities in supplying legacy chips. The Biden administration is also expected to announce awards for companies making more advanced chips in the coming weeks and months.

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GlobalFoundries’ significant role in bolstering American semiconductor manufacturing underscores the government’s commitment to reshoring chip production and creating a stable and secure supply chain for critical industries. This investment represents a crucial step in ensuring the United States’ position as a global leader in semiconductor manufacturing, preserving national security and economic stability.

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Some Rioters Already Freed as Supreme Court Reviews Jan. 6 Charge

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Follow live coverage of the Jan. 6 obstruction case at the Supreme Court.

The review of an obstruction law by the Supreme Court that has been heavily utilized in cases related to the January 6 Capitol riot has already had significant consequences for some of the individuals involved in the insurrection.

Despite the fact that a decision on the case is not expected for several months, a handful of individuals convicted under this law have either been released from custody or are on track to be freed.

In recent weeks, federal judges in Washington have authorized the release of approximately 10 defendants who were serving prison sentences due to the obstruction law. These individuals have been allowed to await further proceedings at home while the court reevaluates the appropriateness of utilizing this law to detain them.

One of those individuals who has already been freed is Matthew Bledsoe, a Tennessee moving company owner who climbed a wall outside the Capitol and proceeded to walk through the building with a Trump flag, eventually placing it in the arm of a statue of President Gerald R. Ford.

Other defendants, such as Kevin Seefried, a drywall installer from Delaware who carried a Confederate flag into the Capitol, and Alexander Sheppard, an Ohio man who breached police lines to enter the building, are also expected to be released soon.

The uncertainty surrounding the future of these interrupted sentences, which could be reinstated based on the Supreme Court’s ruling, is just one of the complexities arising from the court’s scrutiny of the obstruction statute, formally known as 18 U.S.C. 1512. This charge has been wielded against over 350 rioters, including individuals like Jacob Chansley, the QAnon Shaman, and members of extremist groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.

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Legal experts have expressed concerns about how a ruling that narrows the scope or invalidates the use of this law in Jan. 6-related cases could impact the Justice Department’s efforts to hold accountable the numerous individuals involved in the attack.

However, in recent months, judges and prosecutors involved with Capitol riot cases have adapted to the potential consequences of a Supreme Court decision, mitigating the once-feared catastrophic effects on the overall prosecution of these cases.

It has been noted that currently, no defendants are solely facing the obstruction charge according to the Justice Department. Each individual indicted on this count is also facing other charges, meaning that even if the obstruction law is no longer applicable in Jan. 6 prosecutions, no cases would completely vanish.

Should the court rule that the obstruction count does not pertain to the Capitol attack, the primary impact would be on the sentences handed down to the defendants. While few rioters have received the maximum penalty of 20 years in prison under this statute, many have still been sentenced to several years behind bars.

Certain judges have indicated that they would increase sentences stemming from other charges if the obstruction count was deemed inapplicable. For instance, in February, Judge Royce C. Lamberth denied an early release for Leo Kelly, an Iowa man sentenced to 30 months in prison on the obstruction count and six other misdemeanors.

Judge Lamberth justified his decision by stating that even if the Supreme Court ruled against sentencing Kelly for obstruction, he could lengthen the defendant’s total prison term by imposing consecutive rather than concurrent sentences on the misdemeanor charges.

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