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  • Washington Highlights

    Congress Passes Slimmed Down Competitiveness Package


    Christa Wagner, Manager, Government Relations
    For Media Inquiries

    The House of Representatives approved the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (CHIPS Act) on July 28 by a bipartisan vote of 243-187 following Senate passage on July 27 by a vote of 64-33. This legislation, which has been developed over the preceding two years, is aimed at bolstering U.S. scientific competitiveness by authorizing funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), establishing a new NSF technology directorate, and providing funding for domestic manufacturing of semiconductors.

    Specifically, the bill authorizes $81 billion for the NSF over five years, which includes $20 billion for a new Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships aimed at accelerating the development of federally funded basic research into useable technologies. The AAMC previously joined other members of the Coalition for National Science Funding in a 2021 letter to House and Senate leadership in support of including authorized funding for the NSF in the competitiveness package.

    The CHIPS Act, which evolved from previous, broader competitiveness proposals approved independently by the House and Senate, also maintains provisions to:

    • Address sexual harassment in science, including through uniform reporting guidance across federal research agencies.
    • Authorize funding for an NSF fellowship pilot program to support early-career researchers.
    • Increase racial, gender, and geographic diversity in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workforce, including increased activities at minority-serving institutions.

    Both precursors to the CHIPS Act, the Senate-passed U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and House-passed America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act, included additional research security measures that were not included in the CHIPS Act [refer to Washington Highlights, June 11, 2021; Feb. 4]. The AAMC previously joined the higher education community in expressing concerns about provisions primarily related to the reporting of foreign gifts and contracts with research universities [refer to Washington Highlights May 21, 2021; March 25].

    President Joe Biden and the administration have repeatedly expressed support for the legislation, including through a July 25 Statement of Administration Policy, and the president is expected to sign the bill into law quickly.