President Joe Biden is the final stop for legislation that the House passed Thursday, July 28, to boost federal aid for semiconductor manufacturing and research.
The legislation (HR 4346) also contains other provisions sought by U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici of Beaverton to deal with ocean acidification, regional energy innovation and education in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.
The bill passed on a vote of 243-187; 24 Republicans joined Democrats to vote for it. Bonamici and Oregon Democrats Earl Blumenauer of Portland, Peter DeFazio of Springfield and Kurt Schrader of Canby supported it; Republican Cliff Bentz of Ontario opposed it.
The Senate voted 64-33 the previous day to pass it. Oregon Democrats Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley voted for it.
Congress acted ahead of its summer recess, which begins Aug. 6. Biden has urged Congress to act, including during a stop April 21 at Portland International Airport.
Bonamici sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and spoke for the bill during the House debate. It contains $52 billion for grants and tax incentives to promote domestic manufacturing of semiconductors and $200 billion for research, including $10 billion for the secretary of commerce to designate regional technology hubs.
"The pandemic has underscored how important our domestic semiconductor supply chain is to transportation, the energy sector, national security and scientific advancement," she said. "With this bill, we'll make a vital investment in domestic manufacturing and in workers in Oregon and across the country.
"The CHIPS and Science Act will grow U.S. leadership, strengthen our scientific enterprise, bolster research and development, grow our domestic semiconductor manufacturing base, and onshore critical supply chains. Importantly, it also will support workers and create many quality jobs in Oregon and across the country."
Bonamici's district encompasses Oregon's hub of high technology businesses known as the Silicon Forest.
According to a July 20 blog posted by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, the high-tech sector accounts for 5% of Oregon nonfarm jobs — about 110,000 — but 11% of total wages and 11% of the value of goods and services produced statewide.
Much of the growth has come in software development, which is concentrated in the Portland metro area but is spreading statewide as work-from-home jobs increase.
Despite announcements of hardware manufacturing elsewhere, Oregon accounts for 9% of the domestic semiconductor workforce and 12% of all jobs (35,000).
In addition to the semiconductor legislation, which advocates said would enable the United States to lessen its dependence on semiconductor manufacturing in China and other Asian nations, Bonamici got some other priorities in the bill.
Here is a summary provided by her office:
The Coastal and Ocean Acidification Research and Innovation Act will:
• Protect ocean health and provide resources to coastal communities to mitigate the effects of ocean acidification.
• Strengthen investments in research and monitoring.
• Increase understanding of the socioeconomic consequences of inaction.
The Building STEAM Education Act will:
• Promote the integration of arts and design in science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum to promote creativity and innovation.
• Encourage partnerships between higher education and elementary and secondary institutions to develop STEAM curriculum.
• Open up grants for informal, out-of-school STEAM programs.
The provisions similar to the Regional Clean Energy Innovation Act will:
• Improve American competitiveness in clean energy technology research and development.
• Foster regional collaboration to accelerate the deployment of clean energy.
• Promote economic and workforce development in diverse geographic areas of the country as regions transition to clean energy.
NOTE: Adds background on high-tech sector from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis.
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