Leader Schumer: “Thank you, Maria…She has been just relentless. Not day in, day out. Not even month in, month out. But year in, year out in getting this legislation done.”
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Chair of the bipartisan Conference Committee on innovation and competition legislation, applauded overwhelming Senate passage today of a nearly $250 billion package of historic federal investments in American science and technology research, innovation and manufacturing. Sen. Cantwell was a key architect of the bill’s provisions and 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.
“…[T]his legislation is a major milestone, the largest single investment that we've seen in a long time in U.S. R&D,” Sen. Cantwell said while leading Wednesday’s press conference. “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, in reality, investment today means jobs for tomorrow.”
Sen. Cantwell with Sens. Roger Wicker, Mark Warner, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Todd Young and John Cornyn speaking to the press after the passage of the Chips and Science Act. Download photo.
"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 on the Senate floor before the final vote. "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."
The Chips and Science Act is built upon the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and authorizes nearly $250 billion in spending over the next five years — the largest five-year research and development budget in U.S. history. It boosts federal investment in key technology areas critical to maintaining our global technological and economic leadership, including artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing, next-generation wireless, composites, and advanced energy and disaster prevention solutions related to climate change.
View the Press Conference Video and Transcript Senator Cantwell hosted with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.), and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas).
CHIPS and Science Act – Key Legislative Priorities
Tech Directorate: $20 billion
The bill authorizes a new mission at the National Science Foundation (NSF), focusing on translational science in key areas with an authorization of $20 billion over five years. NSF’s mission to date has been basic research. What is translational science? Translational science is the way to turn ideas in a lab into products and solutions for the American people. The 10 key technology areas the new law specifies are: Artificial Intelligence, High-Performance Computing, Quantum Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, Disaster Prevention, Advanced Communications, Cybersecurity, Biotech, Advanced Energy Efficiency, and Material Science.
Department of Energy Authorization: $16.9 billion
The bill authorizes $16.9 billion over five years for the Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct applied research and development (R&D) in the 10 key technology areas of the bill. The bill also authorizes a first-time-ever $50.3 billion five-year reauthorization of the Office of Science at DOE, increasing its stability and long-term vision into the future of basic research (usually the Office of Science receives one-year authorizations).
Department of Commerce Tech Hubs: $10 billion
The bill authorizes a new grant program at the Department of Commerce (DOC) to build as many as 20 new regional technology hubs to accelerate important technology development by encouraging collaboration between university research centers, businesses, labor and economic development organizations. Funds can be used for accelerating commercialization of key U.S. competitive technologies, workforce development and entrepreneurial training.
Manufacturing Extension Partnership: $2.25 billion
The bill authorizes $2.25 billion, tripling the annual funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a program that helps small- and medium-sized manufacturers improve their competitiveness with training on supply chain management, cybersecurity, workforce shortages, and job training problems.
Investments for Domestic Semiconductor Manufacturing: $76 billion
This bill provides the Department of Commerce $39 billion in direct funding to competitively award grants, loans, and loan guarantees to incentivize domestic semiconductor manufacturing, with $2 billion of these dollars set aside to support production of legacy chips primarily used in the auto industry. It also creates a new 25 percent investment tax credit, valued at $24 billion, for capital expenditures to expand U.S. semiconductor manufacturing. Additionally, the bill provides $11 billion to the Department of Commerce and $2 billion to the Department of Defense to develop and prototype the next generation of semiconductors in the United States.
STEM Education: $13 billion STEM Investment at the National Science Foundation
This bill authorizes $13 billion in STEM education funding at the National Science Foundation, representing a tripling of the NSF’s annual STEM education budget. This funding can be used for scholarships, fellowships and traineeships, and for competitive awards to universities to expand STEM education capacity. The United States is on track to be 3 million STEM workers short by 2030. The bill additionally directs the NSF to increase STEM education opportunities for women, minorities, and tribal communities, directing nearly $2 billion to minority-serving institutions and other emerging research institutions around the country with a proven track record of helping grow a diverse workforce.
The bill for the first time authorizes the NASA Artemis program and the Moon to Mars program. The bill requires NASA to establish a Moon to Mars office to oversee the program. It would also extend the lifetime of the International Space Station from 2024 to 2030. The bill would additionally authorize NASA to continue research and development in aeronautics and to develop new materials and manufacturing processes to reduce the cost of aeronautics manufacturing.
EPSCoR Authorization Increase
The bill would grow the funding available to the 25 states and three jurisdictions that participate in the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). EPSCoR is a program at NSF that encourages development of science, education, and research capacity in states that have been historically low on R&D activities. NSF would grow the funding available to these states, increasing their budget from 13 percent to 20 percent in key research accounts over the next seven years.
Recompetes: $1 billion
The bill authorizes $1 billion for Recompetes, a competitive Department of Commerce pilot program to alleviate persistent and economically distressed communities and support long-term economic development and job creation. State, local, Tribal governments, nonprofit organizations and economic development districts can apply for grants to create comprehensive economic development programs, workforce development activities and business entrepreneurship development activities.
ORAN Wireless Supply Chain: $1.5 billion
Directs $1.5 billion to the Department of Commerce to support the development of Open Radio Access Network (ORAN) technologies. With this funding, the Department of Commerce will help develop and accelerate the commercial deployment of a next-generation interoperable network with an open architecture for 5G and 6G.
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 Senate floor, where it passed with a 68-32 vote.
Cantwell chaired the kickoff meeting of the Conference Committee to negotiate differences between USICA and the House COMPETES Act on May 12, 2022.
Cantwell had called on Congress for months 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 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.