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Congress Must Ace Final Science Test

November 16, 2022

The Task

The bipartisan passage of the CHIPS and Science Act marked an important milestone for the 117th Congress. Now, in its final days, lawmakers must finish what they started by fully funding the vision laid out in this vital piece of legislation. Doing so will greatly improve our national security, economic strength and global competitiveness for generations to come.

The Opportunity

The CHIPS and Science Act called for $169.9 billion over five years to support research and innovation across several federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the Departments of Energy and Commerce. But unlike the additional $52 billion in funding for the domestic production of semiconductors, the $169.9 billion for science and innovation has only been authorized, not appropriated.

Congress must appropriate the science portion of the CHIPS and Science Act — and it’s running out of time.

Without funding, critical investments to strengthen America’s STEM workforce, fuel experimental research and build advanced labs and other scientific infrastructure will be left on the table. In addition, full funding of the CHIPS and Science Act in 2023 will set a stronger baseline for the 2024 budget and beyond. Securing this investment now increases the chance that subsequent appropriations cycles will provide adequate funding.

The Risk

Whether we like it or not, we are engaged in a fierce competition with China — a formidable international competitor — in science, technology and innovation. Failure to fully fund the CHIPS and Science Act will allow China to take the reins of global leadership in science and technology. That would be disastrous, as the next era of innovation would happen overseas with devastating results: fewer American jobs, intrusive and unethical uses of technology and a more hostile and uncertain world.

Nowhere is this more visible than in China’s push to overtake American world leadership in science and technology. While President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in a recent historic bilateral meeting to keep competition between the two countries from falling into conflict, that doesn’t mean the U.S. should pull back on spending in this area.

The U.S. must rise to the challenge — and it has just weeks to act. As both Republicans and Democrats rightfully sound the alarm on China’s growing strength in this area, we need to fuel advancements in the U.S. in the technologies that will drive future economic strength and growth across the globe, including advanced bioscience, clean energy, quantum computing, artificial intelligence and advanced energy production and storage. We can only do that if lawmakers fully fund the CHIPS and Science Act now.

Let’s Get It Done

Over the past two years, the 117th Congress achieved remarkable bipartisan wins and enacted robust investments in science and technology. Now, lawmakers need to take the final step to secure the bold, innovative future they laid out.

Earlier this year, lawmakers were determined to pass the CHIPS and Science Act on a bipartisan vote — and they succeeded. In the lame-duck appropriations cycle, they must bring that same resolve to fully fund this critical bill.

The Science & Technology Action Committee is a group of 22 non-profit, academic, foundation, and corporate leaders working to dramatically strengthen U.S. science and technology. The Committee is co-chaired by: Keith Yamamoto, Vice Chancellor for Science Policy & Strategy UCSF, Sudip Parikh, CEO, The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and Mary Woolley, President & CEO, Research!America.