On Tuesday afternoon the Senate passed S.1260, an amended version of Chuck Schumer’s Endless Frontier Act that authorizes billions in funding to strengthen US tech and research. Dubbed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, it’s also intended to build up US manufacturing and tech to compete with options from China, and passed by a 68 – 32 vote.
As Reuters notes, of the $190 billion in spending laid out in the bill, more than $50 billion is available to “increase U.S. production and research into semiconductors and telecommunications equipment,” with $2 billion focused specifically on chips used by automakers — ones that have been in short supply, stalling production lines across the country.
In a tweet after the vote, Schumer said “This legislation will set the United States on a path to out-innovate, out-produce, and out-compete the world in the industries of the future.” The original bill proposed last year committed over $100 billion to boost research and create regional technology hubs, however this version has expanded to $250 billion, as Bloomberg notes it’s added legislation from a number of committees focusing on competition with China.
The bill still includes $10 billion that will go to the Commerce Department intended to reshape cities and regions as technology hubs, while the $100 billion for a National Science and Technology Foundation (NSTF) has turned into $29 billion for a new Directorate of Technology and Innovation at the existing NSF.
It also includes provisions for NASA spending and the Artemis mission to the moon, however it isn’t a law yet. The House still needs to pass a version of the bill and bipartisan support there is uncertain.
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