ROUND ROCK, Texas - Senator Ted Cruz made an appearance Thursday afternoon in Williamson County as he pushed for legislation that would streamline construction at semiconductor factories, like the Samsung plant in Taylor.
Semiconductor chips are the brains of everyday pieces of technology, like phones and cars.
In Taylor, Texas, Samsung’s new chip manufacturing plant is in the heart of rural Williamson County.
The reality is we’re building the largest ecosystem in North America for semiconductor manufacturing right here," said Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell.
Samsung and other facilities like it are also now at the center of federal legislation: The CHIPS Act.
"We want those FABS built, and we want them built quickly in five years or ten years or twenty years," said Senator Ted Cruz. "We need them built right now."
At a round table in Round Rock, Senator Cruz met with industry leaders and rallied support for streamlining the permit process for plants.
"With other manufacturing issues, there’s not the urgency of time," said Cruz. "There’s not the vulnerability that we have from a national security matter and from an economic matter that we have from semiconductors."
He's proposing reducing environmental regulations on the construction of new facilities.
The amendment has already passed the Senate and is waiting for House approval.
"It’s important to have vigorous environmental protections but not have regulations in place that just slow everything down for years and years and years," said Cruz. "That puts us in an economic disadvantage to other countries that are beating us right now in semiconductors. We’ve got to move more quickly."
The conversation about a need for more chip plants is not new.
- Taylor Samsung plant on target to be operational by end of 2024
- Taylor Samsung chip plant hires at Williamson County job fair
President Biden signed the CHIPS Act into law in 2022, something Senator Cruz voted against.
He said he's opposed to the federal government dishing out money to manufacturing corporations.
"I think it is often problematic when you have the federal government giving billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars to private companies," said Cruz. "What frequently happens is it invites corruption, it invites cronyism, it invites an administration making political decisions rather than investing the money well."
Cruz also added he expects Samsung in Taylor to keep to its timeline for opening.
The company confirmed with FOX 7 that it is on target to be operational by the end of the year but would not comment on when mass production would begin.