The Technology CEO council today applauded members of Congress for their quick, bipartisan action to keep the nation’s helium reserve open for business. On Thursday, the Senate unanimously approved the Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act (H.R. 527). The House approved the same legislation, which now awaits the President’s signature.
“Without helium, we can’t make chips,” said Mark Durcan, CEO of Micron Technology, and a member of the Technology CEO Council. “A helium shortage would have undermined not just the tech industry, but other critical manufacturing, healthcare and research operations across the country, and led to a disruption in the overall U.S. economy. We appreciate the leadership shown by members of Congress, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA-4), who acted decisively to advance this critical legislation.”
The federal helium reserve, which contains 50 percent of America’s supply of helium, was scheduled to shut down by October 7th. Helium is essential to the manufacture of semiconductors used in electronic devices, from computers and smartphones to MRI machines. Semiconductors, in turn, are the enabling technology for thousands of products and services at the heart of the modern economy. The U.S. government also benefits from the continued operation of the helium reserve, with the Congressional Budget Office estimating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue as a result of helium sales to private entities.
“Keeping the helium reserve open is a simple but important example of legislative action that makes sense for the U.S. economy.” said Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell, past Chair of Technology CEO Council.