In an important gain for science, the House of Representatives and Senate have passed competitiveness legislation. Earlier this week, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill that would increase the amount of semiconductor chips manufactured in the country and authorize increased federal funding for scientific research. Immediately following Senate passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, the House of Representatives passed the bill. The bill now heads to President Biden’s desk for signature.
The CHIPS and Science Act authorizes $54 billion in grants for semiconductor manufacturing, as well as reauthorizing key federal research agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy. Specifically, the bill authorizes $81 billion for the National Science Foundation over the course of five years. This authorized funding level includes, $13 billion over five years for STEM education at NSF. The bill also authorizes $87 million over five years for the Computational Science Graduate fellowship at the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
In a statement the Biden Administration said, “The Administration applauds these steps to strengthen our economic competitiveness by authorizing investment in our R&D capabilities and manufacturing base in a diverse set of U.S. regions and communities, particularly in states and communities that have historically not benefited from these investments.”
Several Members of Congress also remarked on the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act. “Today marks the beginning of a revitalized and stronger future for American innovation,” proclaimed Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “The bipartisan passage the CHIPS and Science Act is not only a tremendous victory for our nation’s science, manufacturing, and technology enterprises—it is a victory for the American people.” Likewise, Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said, “This legislation is a major milestone, the largest single investment that we’ve seen in a long time in U.S. R&D. It is a great day for what might seem to many Americans as a very kind of ‘what does science and R&D really mean for me?’ Well investments today mean jobs for tomorrow.”