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Also on Thursday, President Biden signed an executive order laying out priorities for implementing the bipartisan semiconductor measure.
The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday launched a website that will provide information about funding opportunities under the $54.2 billion bipartisan CHIPS semiconductor bill President Biden signed into law earlier this month.
The site lists the administration’s implementation priorities that Biden also announced Thursday in an executive order.
However, the department said the site will list timelines, requirements and other information about applying for funding from the bill as they become available.
In a press release, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the department “will move as swiftly as possible to deploy these funds, while also ensuring the time needed to perform due diligence.
“This program is intended to be an investment in America’s long-term economic and national security, and we will take the necessary steps to ensure its success,” she said.
Most significantly, the measure created $39.4 billion in subsidies to encourage companies to manufacture chips, bolstering hopes in cities around the country that it will create more jobs in their communities.
The law also calls for providing $10 billion over five years to create 20 regional technology and innovation hubs, which are required to be spread around the country and not be in places like California’s Silicon Valley “that are now leading technology centers.”
Unlike other parts of the act, that money must still be appropriated by Congress as part of the regular federal budget process before it is made available.
However, one of the implementation priorities Biden listed in his executive order was to “strengthen and expand regional clusters.”
Biden wrote that “long-term [U.S.] competitiveness requires large economies of scale and investments across the supply chain. Regional clusters containing manufacturing facilities, suppliers, research and workforce programs, along with supporting infrastructure, will be the foundation for a competitive industry. The CHIPS program will facilitate the expansion, creation and coordination of semiconductor clusters that benefit many companies.”
Biden’s executive order said other priorities include:
Ensuring long-term leadership in the sector. The CHIPS Act will establish a “dynamic, collaborative network for semiconductor research and innovation to enable U.S. leadership in the industries of the future.” The program also will support a diversity of technologies and applications along many stages of product and process development.
Catalyzing private-sector investment. For the CHIPS program to be successful, the order said it will respond to market signals, fill market gaps and reduce investment risk to attract significant private capital. “The role of government in the CHIPS program is to shift financial incentives to maximize large-scale private investment in production, break-through technologies, and workers.”
Part of that, the order continued, will be to “create benefits for startups, workers, socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, … universities and colleges, and state and local economies, in addition to supporting semiconductor companies.” It emphasized the CHIPS program will “encourage linkages to underserved regions and populations to draw in new participants to the semiconductor ecosystem.”
Protecting taxpayer dollars. The program will do a “rigorous review of applications along with robust compliance and accountability requirements.” Biden said taxpayer dollars will be “protected and spent wisely, and are not used for dividends, stock buybacks, or windfall profits.”
Kery Murakami is a senior reporter for Route Fifty.