July 27, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), co-chair of the Senate Semiconductor Caucus, today applauded the Senate’s 64-33 vote to pass the CHIPS for America Act that invests in the United States’ leading-edge technology manufacturing and scientific innovation. The bipartisan legislation works to reduce America’s heavy dependence on foreign chips – currently a factor in car manufacturing delays and rising costs for many household goods – and improve national security by incentivizing domestic production of the semiconductors that are used in nearly every piece of modern technology. The bill also includes historic authorizations for scientific research and development to make the country more competitive in industries of the future, and for large investments to grow America’s STEM workforce.
“From smartphones to smart cities and kitchen appliances to cars, almost every aspect of modern life relies on the availability of semiconductors. The United States cannot afford to be dependent on other nations, let alone adversaries, for these 21st century building blocks,” said Senator King. “The CHIPS for America Act makes a historic investment in the domestic production and development of the semiconductors that are vital to our nation’s national security and economy. This bipartisan legislation will spur American innovation, create thousands of good-paying manufacturing jobs, and make sure our nation’s fragile supply chains are not overly reliant on competitors like China. It will also address one of the many causes of inflation by helping alleviate the component shortages at the heart of rising prices for cars and consumer electronics worldwide. Along with the investments in semiconductors, I’m excited by the significant funding the bill authorizes to help American researchers stay on the forefront of technologies like clean energy, advanced computing, and high-speed internet.
“Today’s Senate passage of this legislation is an important step in the right direction – but the work is not yet finished, and the bill should have gone further in several key areas. I would have liked to see provisions that supported American competitiveness in cyberspace, and incentives to help our country attract more talent from around the globe,” continued Senator King. “However, despite these few shortcomings, the bill as a whole represents a significant investment in our nation’s future, and a huge step towards addressing the evolving economic and national security challenges posed by China. I’m grateful for the strong bipartisan support it received, and hope that it can pass the House of Representatives quickly.”
The CHIPS for America Act, which was adapted from the previously Senate-passed U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, will invest over $54 billion to develop and support American production of semiconductors. This includes $39 billion in financial assistance to build, expand, or modernize domestic facilities and equipment for semiconductor fabrication, and $11 billion for semiconductor research and development. The legislation also creates a new Directorate for Technology and Innovation at the National Science Foundation, which is authorized to receive $81 billion over five years to support innovation in technologies that have geostrategic implications for the United States, and plans for $13 billion to build a 21st century STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) workforce. The funding and authorizations come with protections to safeguard America’s advanced technologies and investments from specific countries that pose a national security threat.
As Co-Chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission and the Senate Semiconductor Caucus and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, Senator King has been committed to advancing American competitiveness in 21st century technologies while improving national security and strengthening supply chains. Along with advocating for more semiconductor manufacturing, King has been a leader in expanding 21st century broadband connections across America, and is one of the Senate’s strongest advocates for American energy storage technology.