U.S. Senate Approves Biggest-Ever Investment in American Tech Innovation
Cantwell-led Act will invest nearly $250 billon in science, tech & manufacturing critical to U.S. national security, global economic leadership & dependable supply chains
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Chips and Science Act, a nearly $250 billion package of historic federal investments in American science and technology research, innovation and manufacturing led and negotiated by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
"We know that innovation is in the DNA of Americans. We know it's helped us win the world wars, it's helped us cure disease, it's helped create millions of jobs," Sen. Cantwell said. "We don't know exactly what innovations will come out of this, but we do know this: America will be more competitive because of it. And we do know this, that we will be able to grow our economy for the future, because of the investments that we've made today."
Sen. Cantwell, who serves as Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, is a key architect of the bill’s provisions. She led the conference committee, and over the past few weeks she helped rally a last-minute bipartisan push for keeping investments in science in the legislation. The Act passed the Senate by a 64-33 vote.
This historic $250 billion investment aims to make America safer and more prosperous. Here’s how:
1) Protects U.S. Consumers, Industry, and our Armed Forces from Future Semiconductor Shortages:
The Act delivers $76 billion to develop the next generation of semiconductor technologies and to re-establish U.S. strengths in semiconductor manufacturing. Semiconductors are the oil of the 21st century – they’re found in a huge variety of products, from vehicles, medical devices, and cell phones to advanced national security technology. But only 12% of chips are manufactured in the United States, down from 37% in the 1990s.
Chips shortages have damaged U.S. manufacturing capabilities in the automotive sector, harmed American agriculture, and contributed to inflation. Even worse, advanced military systems do not work without trustworthy semiconductors. The U.S. cannot risk falling further behind.
2) Turns U.S.-Funded Innovations Into Products Faster:
The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) new Technology Directorate will invest $20 billion over five years to support pioneering research in technology areas critical to U.S. economic and national security leadership.
The Directorate will help researchers and universities translate their innovations into patent-protected, market-ready products. These investments will help ensure that American innovation isn’t co-opted by other nations, but is instead turned into products that can be made in America, benefitting American businesses and creating American jobs.
3) Funds Pioneering Research to Secure Energy Supplies and Help Cool Down the Planet:
The Act will increase funding for the Department of Energy’s cutting-edge research, development, and deployment activities by $16.9 billion. This pioneering research is vital to America’s energy security, and for discovering and testing new approaches to combat climate change.
Much of this work is performed by DOE’s 17 National Laboratories, including the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) in Richland, which is one of the largest employers in Washington state.
The Act also includes an additional five-year, $50.3 billion reauthorization for the DOE Office of Science, supporting a broad range of range of basic science research programs in areas like quantum computing, artificial photosynthesis, coastal zone research, high energy physics, and climate and earth modeling.
4) Trains Hundreds of Thousands of New STEM Workers:
No amount of investment in research and technology can be successful without a strong American workforce. The Act therefore puts more than $13 billion into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce development. By 2030, the U.S. is on track to have 3 million fewer technically-trained workers than we need. For the first time, Congress will direct the NSF to identify and address workforce needs across a range of ten critical fields, such as cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing, by issuing scholarships and traineeships.
The Act also directs nearly $2 billion to minority serving institutions (MSIs) and other emerging research institutions around the country, including Tribal colleges and universities, a major investment in institutions with a proven track record of helping grow a diverse workforce.
5) Turns More Towns into Tech Hubs:
The Act creates a new $10 billion Department of Commerce program to nurture locally-driven innovation regions and the good-paying jobs that come with them. Just five U.S. metro areas—Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and San Diego—accounted for 90 percent of growth in the innovation sectors between 2005 and 2017.
This program will encourage this growth across the country, creating new opportunities for other regions that are primed for technology leadership with the right investment. This program will create new collaborations between local governments, universities, labor, and the private sector to expand innovation capacity nationwide and accelerate the economic development that the nation needs to remain competitive.
6) Triples Support for American-Made Tech:
The Act triples funding, from $158M to $550M annually, for the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which supports small- and medium-sized manufacturers with cybersecurity, workforce training, and supply chain resiliency. Impact Washington, the MEP Center in Washington state, has helped create and retain 19,000 jobs since its founding in 1997.
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 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.
Targeted Investment: Invest in critical technologies:
- Key Technology Focus Areas. Directs the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Science Foundation (NSF) to identify and invest in ten key technology competition areas, which are:
- Artificial intelligence
- High-performance computing
- Quantum technology
- Natural disaster prevention and mitigation
- Advanced communications technology
- Data storage
- Clean energy and industrial efficiency
- Material science
- Solutions-focused science. Directs NSF to invest in technology development important to resolving national, societal, and geo-strategic challenges, including security, environmental sustainability, and access to services.
- Research Coordination. Directs NSF, DOE, and other leading agencies to annually review, identify, and coordinate on science and technology areas critical to long-term U.S. competitiveness.
- NSF Research Funding. Authorizes more than a doubling of the NSF annual budget over five years, from $9 billion in FY2022 to $19 billion in FY2027.
- Within that doubling, authorizes a 50% increase in annual funding for NSF’s core basic and fundamental research activities, the seed corn for new technologies, from $8 billion in FY2022 to $12 billion in FY2027.
Tech Transfer: Help American scientists turn their innovations into American-made products
- NSF Technology Directorate. Creates a new, first-of-its-kind $20 billion NSF Directorate to accelerate domestic development and translation of technologies from lab to market.
- Patent Protection. Invests in university technology transfer offices, to identify promising technologies and to protect research products through domestic and international patenting.
- Breakthrough Technology Demonstrations. Authorizes new DARPA-like technology projects within NSF, working with universities and the private sector to rapidly demonstrate revolutionary technology advances.
- University Technology Centers. Within TIP, authorizes $6.5 billion for more than 30 Translation Accelerators and Regional Innovation Engines, to support university and industry multi-disciplinary research in critical technology areas.
STEM Education and Manufacturing: Train the diverse STEM-educated workforce we need to win the 21st century
- STEM Education. Authorizes $13 billion in NSF investment in STEM education and workforce development, to grow STEM activities from $1 billion in FY2022 to $3 billion in FY202 and to address workforce gaps.
- Authorizes $4 billion, sufficient to support nearly 40,000 scholarships, fellowships, and other awards
- Emerging Research Institutions. Increases educational and research capacity at the nation’s institutions, including authorized investments of $750 million in emerging research institutions and $1.2 billion in minority-serving institutions.
- Broad STEM Participation. Creates an NSF Chief Diversity Officer, to ensure NSF meets its Congressionally-directed mission to improve geographic diversity in STEM and to grow the research participation of underrepresented populations.
- Geographic Diversity. Gradually increases NSF investment in institutions and researchers in 28 EPSCoR states and jurisdictions, to 20% of key research and STEM accounts by fiscal year 2029, consistent with merit-review.
- Small Manufacturers. Authorize a tripling of the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), from $158M to $550M annually, to support small- and medium-sized manufacturers with cybersecurity, workforce training, and supply chain resiliency.
- Supply Chain. Authorizes the creation of a new MEP national database, to help connect manufacturers to domestic suppliers and to combat supply chain disruptions.
- Advanced Manufacturing. Authorizes new industry/university manufacturing improvement partnerships, sufficient to create ten new geographically-diverse collaborative research institutes and for new investment in workforce development, with advice from the United States Manufacturing Council.
Regional Innovation: More development opportunities in more places
- Regional Technology Hubs. Authorizes a new $10 billion Department of Commerce (DOC) program to build locally-driven regional technology hubs that attract private sector investment and develop the local workforce.
- Distressed Area Program. Authorizes a new $1 billion DOC “Recompete Pilot Program” to support persistently distressed communities.
Department of Energy Research
- National Labs. Authorizes $16.9 billion increase for DOE cutting edge basic and applied research, development, and deployment activities. Much of this work is performed by DOE’s 17 National Laboratories, including the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) in Washington state, which employ thousands of scientists and maintain one-of-a-kind, world-class research capabilities and user facilities that are utilized by over 36,000 university and industrial researchers every year. Supercharging research in areas like energy storage, grid modernization, and carbon capture, is essential to affordably reducing greenhouse gases and rebuilding domestic manufacturing of clean energy solutions.
- Office of Science. Reauthorizes $50.3 billion for DOE Office of Science, supporting a broad range of basic science research programs in areas like quantum computing, artificial photosynthesis, coastal zone research, high energy physics, and climate and earth modeling.
CHIPS, O-RAN, and ITC: A $76 billion investment to reestablish U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and wireless technology
- Manufacturing Incentives. Funds $39 billion in direct assistance to build new semiconductor plants in the United States, including $2 billion for mature technologies critical to products like cars, trucks, tractors, and medical devices.
- Manufacturing Tax Credits. Enables investment tax credits (ITC) to drive additional domestic semiconductor manufacturing.
- Advanced Research and Development. Provides $11 billion for government/industry research to collaboratively prototype, test, and manufacture the next generation of semiconductor technologies in the United States.
- Military Research and Development. Allocates $2 billion to prototype chips at leading universities, including chips critical to national security.
- Wireless Supply Chains. Provides $1.5 billion to support innovative, leap-ahead Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) technology for U.S. mobile broadband.
- IT Security. Funds $500 million to support the State Department to ensure broad adoption of secure and trusted telecommunications technologies.
- Workforce Development. Funds a $200 million National Science Foundation (NSF) initiative to grow the semiconductor workforce.
Research Security: Develop American research in America
- Foreign Recruitment Programs. Prohibits Federal research personnel from participating in foreign talent recruitment programs and Federally-funded researchers from foreign talent recruitment program of countries of concern, including China and Russia.
- Training. Requires researchers to complete annual research security training, including on topics of cybersecurity, foreign interference, improper use of funds, and conflict of interest.
- Cybersecurity. Directs NIST to consider the needs of universities in developing guidance on cybersecurity and NSF to support the development of secure computing enclaves at universities, as a shared resource.
- CHIPS. Prohibits companies that accept CHIPS funding from building advanced semiconductor manufacturing facilities in countries of concern.
- NSF Research Security Office. Requires NSF to properly fund an Office of Research Security and Policy, to identify and address research security risks, including through proactive risk assessments.
NASA: Keep our astronauts safe on the way to the Moon and Mars
- Moon to Mars. Ensures U.S. leadership in space, by establishing a Moon to Mars Program, to include the Artemis missions to place the first American woman and person of color on the Moon and achieve human exploration of Mars.
- International Space Station (ISS). Extends ISS operations through 2030, and prioritizes efforts to reduce risks for exploration and to advance basic and applied research.
- Aeronautics Leadership. Establishes U.S. policy to maintain world leadership in aeronautics, including through demonstration of advanced, ultra-efficient and low emissions aircraft.
- Advanced Manufacturing. Authorizes an advanced materials and manufacturing technology program, to address U.S. competitiveness in aerospace.
- STEM Engagement. Ensures that NASA continue to invest in attracting broad participation in the STEM fields.
- NASA Workforce. Requires NASA strategies for ensuring the capabilities of the NASA workforce, skills-base, and modeling and test facilities.
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