Building a resilient economy that can weather unexpected shocks and crises requires investing in our nation’s critical industries, its workers, and its scientific research capabilities. In order to achieve these goals, we need a strategic national industrial policy. The economic havoc caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has underscored the urgency of strengthening America’s manufacturing base to protect workers, keep costs low for consumers, and fortify U.S. national and economic security. Targeted public investments with meaningful accountability for corporate beneficiaries can help reverse the decades-long trend of job and supply chain offshoring; contribute to inclusive growth that benefits all Americans; and better positions America in the world.
This week, Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act, which will revitalize domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity; jump-start research and development in key technologies; and broaden participation in STEM education and employment both geographically and among underserved groups. This is a critical step in solidifying the foundation for a national industrial policy that will help the United States grow and navigate global challenges for decades to come. To that end, key provisions of the bill will:
Strengthen U.S. economic leadership:
- More than $52 billion in investments into domestic semiconductor manufacturing, a field where the United States share of global manufacturing has dropped from around 40 percent in 1990 to 12 percent today
- Increased funding for and expansion of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, an initiative under the National Institute of Standards and Technology aimed at boosting manufacturing capacity in all 50 states and Puerto Rico
- The creation of Regional Clean Energy Innovation Program that will promote the economic development of diverse regions of the country
Invest broadly and equitably in innovation:
- The first comprehensive funding authorization for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which conducts fundamental scientific research that has powered U.S. innovation and entrepreneurship for decades.
- The creation of a new National Science Foundation (NSF) directorate focused on research and commercialization of technology focus areas that will be key arenas of competition in the 21st century
- An expansion of the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) to promote advanced science and technological research at universities across the country.
- The establishment of a chief diversity officer at the NSF tasked with ensuring diversity and inclusion in NSF operations and programs
- Dedicated NSF funding for research and development into critical minerals supply chains
- Programs and grants to increase the transparency and accessibility of federal STEM education among Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and other minority-serving institutions and to lower barriers to recruitment and advancement of women and minorities in STEM.
These provisions exemplify how government can improve the lives of all Americans by investing in both short- and long-term solutions. By easing supply chain bottlenecks, the CHIPS and Science Act will put downward pressure on costs families face for the essential products they use every day. It will also deliver necessary investments for a future of innovation and equitable growth that make the United States less reliant on anti-democratic countries and secure the economy against unexpected global challenges.