Cantwell: Clark County Will Play Big Role as Congress Passes $52 Billion Investment to Spur U.S. Semiconductor Manufacturing
Southwest’s chip manufacturers, research institutions, and STEM-focused schools will be able to compete for billions in new funding
WASHINGTON, D.C.— This week, the U.S. Senate and House passed the CHIPS and Science Act, authorizing $250 billion to advance key technologies of the future.
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is a main architect of the bill, which is currently awaiting President Biden’s signature. Sen. Cantwell helped assemble a bipartisan coalition of Senators to support these investments, including:
- Authorizing $52 billion to spur domestic semiconductor manufacturing, securing access to chips for America’s industry and Armed Forces.
- Creating a 25 percent investment tax credit for semiconductor manufacturing worth an estimated $24 billion.
- Doubling the National Science Foundation’s budget to nearly $19 billion, with a mandate to invest in key technologies like semiconductors and biotechnology.
- Authorizing $13 billion to train a STEM-educated workforce, critical to America’s global economic competitiveness, with a directive to the NSF to increase STEM education opportunities for women, minorities, and Tribal communities.
“By leveraging the Pacific Northwest’s history in chip manufacturing, this region could play a big role as America rebuilds its semiconductor industry,” said Sen. Cantwell. “This legislation gives us the opportunity to win major manufacturing incentives alongside new funds to research and develop the next generation of semiconductors. In Southwest Washington, generations of business owners, researchers, and workers are poised to lead us into the future by helping us solve supply chain shortages, secure advanced chips needed by our Armed Forces, and support American leadership in developing industries like artificial intelligence, clean energy and quantum computing.”
The CHIPS and Science Act would enable the Department of Commerce to provide incentives via loans and loan guarantees as well as grants to chip manufacturers, as well as to companies that do not make chips (e.g., chip equipment and materials suppliers). Additional funds can support local workforce development efforts. These activities may be beneficial to a range of local companies, like Analog Devices, nLight, and SEH America.
The CHIPS and Science Act also reauthorizes NSF’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program and doubles the budget for ATE from the current level of $75 million per year to $150 million per year. This program helps community colleges like Clark College improve and expand educational programs for technicians to work in high-tech STEM fields that drive the U.S. economy and secure good paying jobs in Clark County.
Additionally, the CHIPS and Science Act provides support for expanding internship and experimental learning opportunities at Washington State University Vancouver like the school’s Future Leaders Project, which aims to connect historically underserved students with paid summer internships and mentoring. The bill also supports the school’s ongoing efforts to increase the access, entry and retention of women and people of color in STEM fields. The campus serves a large population of first-generation college students (44 percent) and students of color (33 percent).
Sen. Cantwell is an architect of this legislation and a longtime champion of boosting America’s competitiveness in research, development and manufacturing.
In 2021, Cantwell advanced the U.S. Innovation and Competition bill in the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which culminated in a 24-4 bipartisan vote, and then managed the bill on the floor of the United States Senate, where it passed with a 68-32 vote.
On May 13, 2022, Cantwell chaired the kickoff meeting of the Conference Committee to negotiate differences between Senate’s United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and the House’s America COMPETES Act.
For months, Cantwell has called on Congress to act on the bill. She spoke on the Senate floor on March 28, 2022; March 24, 2022; March 21, 2022; February 10, 2022, and February 4, 2022 encouraging her colleagues to move the bill forward. The Senator previously chaired a Commerce Committee hearing with tech and trucking industry CEOs on the importance of U.S. investment in America’s domestic semiconductor manufacturing and research and organized multiple classified briefings on the impact of the chip shortage on national and economic security.
Next Article Previous Article