Baldwin close on marriage equality, pushing for microchips bill

MADISON, Wis. — U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said Tuesday that she is close to the 10 Republican senators she needs to join Democrats in order to pass a bill to enshrine same-sex marriage in federal law.

A similar bill passed the House earlier this month, and now Democrats need only five more Republicans to meet the 60-vote threshold to overcome the filibuster. Baldwin said a vote could come as soon as before the August recess or shortly afterward.

“We just want to make very sure that before we bring the bill up, that it will pass,” she said. “This isn’t going to be something that we’re just bringing up for political purposes; this is something that we want to make sure we do it right.”

Among the Republicans supporting the vote is Wisconsin’s other senator, Republican Ron Johnson. He said last week he would support voting against the filibuster to move the bill forward to a vote, which would allow Democrats to pass the bill on a simple 50-vote majority.

Baldwin is also pushing for legislation to bolster the domestic manufacturing of microchips, which can be used in auto manufacturing. Currently, most of the world’s supply is built overseas, which can leave the United States vulnerable to shortages that are caused by supply chain issues. The Senate is supposed to take up that bill on Wednesday.

“If we don’t pass this quickly, we’re going to see the next set of fabrication labs built overseas again,” Baldwin said.

She added that other countries, including European Union members, are working toward building microchip fabrication facilities already. She said the sense of urgency for the United States is to not lose out on the opportunity to enter the market.

“This is a competitive race — this is about our investment in science and technology, and this bill is really vital but also quite urgent,” she said.