Semiconductor Bill Passed in Congress will Help Boost NY’s Microchip Industry
By: Hellen Zaboulani
On Thursday, congress passed a long-awaited bill which will significantly boost U.S. production of semiconductors. As the third largest microchip producer in the country, New York stands to gain from the bill. As per CNN, the bipartisan effort, passed in the House, hopes to make America more competitive by providing some $52 billion in grants for American manufacturing, development and scientific research. The bill passed with 243 votes in favor and 187 votes against. This included 24 Republicans who backed the bill, despite the GOP’s leadership’s disapproval, reversing their support in favor of a different economic package. Progressives in the House also backed the bill. On Wednesday, the bill had likewise passed in the senate with a 64-33 vote.
Known as the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act, the bill sets up incentives for domestic semiconductor manufacturing, and includes several provisions to bolster scientific research– including authorizing billions of dollars for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The bill will now move on to the office of President Joe Biden, who can sign it into law. The bill would make the U.S. more independent, and less reliant on China, and it would also be a boon for national security.
As reported by Crain’s NY, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the country experienced severe supply-chain disruptions for smartphones, smart TV’s, laptops, and car batteries, highlighting our reliance on Taiwan manufacturing. Back in 1990, the U.S. had produced close to 40 percent of the world’s semiconductor chips, but today it only produces 12%, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office said. Tyler Bugg, director of communications for Tech:NYC, said: “There’s been a slow drip of decline in domestic semiconductor production. We want to spur innovation in the semiconductor industry in the United States, and we want that hub of innovation to be in New York.”
Most of the NY’s production takes place in upstate, in places like the Nanotech Complex at the State University of New York campus in Albany. Kevin Younis, executive deputy commissioner for the Empire State Development Corp., told Crain’s that there are some research opportunities for NY City companies, but the city just doesn’t have the massive manufacturing space needed for semiconductor plants. “We’re talking 1,500 acres, sometimes 2,000 acres at some of these facilities. A million square feet is just mind boggling,” Younis said.
Gov. Kathy Hochul praised the federal $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act, saying that coupled with the $10 billion industry infusion approved by New York’s Legislature this spring, it will work to add jobs and investment to New York. “The combination of the state and federal CHIPS bills—in addition to our diverse talent pool, rich local resources and ongoing investments—will help New York create 21st-century jobs and technologies and become a global capital for chip manufacturing,” Hochul said.