Schumer reintroduces centerpiece of China competitiveness package, eyes addition of CHIPs Act funding

By Justin Doubleday / April 21, 2021 at 5:35 PM

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today reintroduced legislation expected to serve as the basis of a China technology competitiveness package, as he also eyes plans to add funding for semiconductor manufacturing to the bill.

The “Endless Frontier Act” was originally introduced last May. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) cosponsored it this week. Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“It is a big, bold, and bipartisan initiative to propel American science and technology into the 21st century,” Schumer said in remarks on the Senate floor, emphasizing the need to compete with China’s technological ambitions.

The White House also endorsed the legislation in a statement released by Press Secretary Jen Psaki today.

“We look forward to working with Congress to further shape this legislation to renew America’s global leadership in science and technology and to make sure we develop and manufacture the technologies of the future,” Psaki said.

The bill would establish a new Technology and Innovation Directorate at the National Science Foundation to advance research and development in 10 areas, including artificial intelligence, semiconductors, quantum computing, advanced communications, biotechnology, and advanced energy.

The legislation would fund the new directorate at $100 billion over five years.

It would also add $10 billion to the Commerce Department budget to support “regional technology strategies” and designate at least 10 “regional technology hubs” where funds could be invested to “position regions across the country as global centers for the research, development, entrepreneurship, and manufacturing of new key technologies,” according to Schumer’s office.

The bill would further create a new “supply chain resiliency and crisis response” program at DOC.

Schumer also said the bill could be amended to include funding for increasing U.S. semiconductor production. President Biden has called on Congress to appropriate $50 billion as part of his infrastructure proposal to fund programs authorized by the “CHIPS for America Act,” which was passed as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.

“We will also push for emergency spending to implement the bipartisan semiconductor manufacturing provisions in last year’s defense bill,” Schumer said today.