On the heels of news reports outlining how her husband was poised to profit handsomely from its passage, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) last week traveled to Michigan to talk with members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) about the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act, as the Detroit News reports.
Pelosi was one of a group of lawmakers who met with local and international UAW officials on Friday to discuss the damage done to the auto industry as a result of the global semiconductor shortage, namely billions of dollars in lost revenue and vehicle production cuts that have run into the millions of units, thus causing slim inventories and high prices for consumers.
The speaker, together with fellow Democrat Reps. Debbie Dingell, Dan Kildee, Haley Stevens and Andy Levin – all of Michigan – heard from union membership and leaders who echoed the sentiments of Local 1284 president James Bell, who said, “We’re ready. Invest in us. Pass the bill.”
As the News noted, the legislation would provide upwards of $52 billion in subsidies designed to bolster domestic production of semiconductor chips and would also institute a 25% manufacturing tax credit, and though prior efforts at passage of a similar measure have stalled in the past, Pelosi indicated that the final product – a compromise bill produced in the Senate – could reach the president’s desk by next week.
After listening to what the autoworkers unions had to say on the matter, Pelosi promised to take their message back to the capital, adding, “This is an all-American, patriotic issue. And we have to make sure that it’s done right and that it has the oversight to make sure it lives up to what the president had as his vision.”
Pelosi’s appeal to patriotism may not be the only reason for her excitement about the bill’s possible passage, however, as it was recently reported that her husband, Paul Pelosi, had snapped up millions of dollars worth of stock in a company called Nvidia, one of the world’s most prolific makers of semiconductors, just ahead of the Senate’s vote on the legislation.
While such a purchase might not be particularly noteworthy for someone of Mr. Pelosi’s significant wealth and securities trading experience, to many, the fact that it was made so close to the Senate vote created an appearance of impropriety, if not outright suspicions of profiting from insider knowledge obtained from his powerful wife.
Speaking to the Daily Caller News Foundation, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) declared the “optics” of the stock move to be “horrible,” adding, “[o]bviously Speaker Pelosi would be aware of the timing of this legislation over in the Senate. On the heels of that vote, for anyone in her orbit to purchase seven-figures worth of stock of a U.S.-based chip manufacturer just reeks of impropriety.”
When confronted about speculation over her husband’s Nvidia transaction last week, Pelosi made a hasty denial and retreated from her own press conference, but it is difficult to brush aside the notion that – despite her claims to the contrary – love of country is not the only thing underlying the speaker’s enthusiasm about the CHIP Act.