Helium Bill Floats to the House Floor; Broad Coalition Urges Passage

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013, 3:00pm

by David Isaacs, Vice President, Government Affairs

This Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on bipartisan legislation that would help secure the supply of helium, a gas that is critical for advanced manufacturing of semiconductors and other products, as well as scientific research. https://www.semiconductors.org/clientuploads/innovation.jpg

Under existing law, sales of helium from the Federal Helium Reserve to private entities will stop later this year. The Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act (H.R. 527) would help fix this problem by allowing the supply from the Reserve to continue to be sold for industrial and research purposes, thereby alleviating supply shortages that threaten to undermine America’s economic strength and innovation leadership.

SIA – along with a broad coalition of industrial and scientific users of helium – today distributed a document to every House member urging passage of this legislation.  By allowing the Reserve to continue to operate, Congress can ensure a continuous supply of helium, prevent the need to obtain helium from unstable countries around the world, and inject approximately $350 million annually to the federal treasury, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.

Policymakers in Washington debate difficult and controversial issues every day, but this is not one of them. Securing the supply of helium will boost American manufacturing, research and economic growth.

Meanwhile, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today introduced companion legislation in the Senate. We look forward to working with both the House and Senate to achieve enactment into law of helium legislation in a timely manner.