From raising the debt limit and funding the federal government to passing a defense authorization bill, the U.S. Congress has a packed agenda to accomplish before the end of 2021. Among these priorities, lawmakers should also seize a historic opportunity to finish work on the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), a bipartisan bill that passed the U.S. Senate earlier this year. This bill is essential for expanding America’s global economic competitiveness and addressing the supply chain challenges hampering the economy.
The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act is also vital to America’s technology leadership and national security. Investing in research and development, entrepreneurship, and science will strengthen the national innovation ecosystem. The bill includes additional support to translate this new research into high-tech jobs, manufacturing, and new firms in communities around the country, ensuring that the benefits of these investments are broadly shared across the United States.
Importantly, the legislation provides robust funding for the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act. Global demand for semiconductors is outpacing both supply and manufacturing capacity, resulting in sectors across the economy facing a shortage of this foundational hardware. With demand for chip-enabled products now skyrocketing, an unprecedented shortage of chips could slow the U.S. economic recovery while also risking immediate interruptions to critical services like distance learning, telework, and healthcare delivery.
Funding the CHIPS for America Act will help meet these challenges by devoting resources to the research and development of cutting-edge technology and boosting domestic semiconductor production across all nodes for this technology that is an essential building block for everything from 5G and artificial intelligence to supercomputers to motor vehicles and clean energy.
U.S. Congress has a key opportunity to get USICA to President Biden’s desk before the end of the year, with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Schumer indicating that he plans to add the measure to the National Defense Authorization Act. We urge the U.S. Senate to work with the U.S. House of Representatives to pass this priority and further U.S. technological leadership across all industries.