America became the world’s scientific, economic, and military leader in the 20th century by making bold and sustained investments in scientific research – and we must renew that commitment to continue leading by funding the CHIPS and Science Act.
What's the problem?
While Congress provided $50 billion in semiconductor industry funding with the CHIPS and Science Act last year, it has not provided funding for the “Science” portion of the bill. Budget constraints and wrangling in Congress pose further threats to catching up to CHIPS and Science’s funding goals.
What's the solution?
Fully fund the amounts that CHIPS and Science authorized for DOE’s Office of Science, NIST, and the NSF for fiscal years 2023-2027.
What's at stake?
China has gained significant ground in recent years – and their rate of increase in investments in research & development has been twice that of the United States over the last decade. This means they could surpass us in scientific advancement and the economic growth and national security that flow directly from it.
Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act last year, which funded $50 billion for domestic semiconductor manufacturing.
It also authorized – but left up to further legislation to appropriate – almost $200 billion in funding for key federal science agencies for us to remain competitive in semiconductors and other areas.
These ambitious funding targets included authorizations for DOE’s Office of Science, NIST, and the NSF for fiscal years 2023-2027.
The main goals of the legislation were to invigorate the domestic semiconductor industry and make sure we do not cede leadership in innovation to China.
Since the CHIPS and Science Act passed, Congress has been unsuccessful in funding the science agencies with the significant increases called for by the legislation.
Failure to fund the CHIPS and Science authorizations would result in a continued trend of falling research investment as a percentage of GDP, a pattern extending back to the 1960's.
China and other nations are serious about making investments in critical technologies, STEM infrastructure, and the future workforce.
Even worse, the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which passed Congress in June, makes reaching the goals of CHIPS and Science even more difficult by capping federal discretionary spending in fiscal years 2024 and 2025.
Meanwhile, China and other nations are serious about making investments in critical technologies, STEM infrastructure, and the future workforce. China knows that investments in critical technologies will help them advance their offensive and defensive capabilities.
The average rate of increase in Chinese R&D over the decade from 2010 to 2019 (the most recent years available) was twice the U.S. rate. This means that, at current rates of investment, China will surpass the United States in scientific investment soon. In evaluating the share of research publications which rank among the world's most cited documents, China has already surpassed the United States.
Funding for fundamental scientific research must be a top priority – even in times of fiscal constraint and addressing our federal deficit – if we are to stay ahead in this race pivotal to our national security.
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