Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor in advance of a cloture vote on the chips and science bill which will protect our national and economic security and make important investments in scientific research. Senator Schumer said passing this bill will be a turning point for American leadership in this century. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
This morning, the Senate will draw a clear line in the sand that America’s chip crisis—and America’s dwindling commitment to science and innovation—will not continue under our watch.
Within the next hour, the Senate will vote to finally – finally! – move towards final passage of our chips and science bill. That’s what we’re calling it, the chips and science bill. That will put us in a position to finish the work on this bill before the end of the week. It’s a major step for our economic security, our national security, our supply chains, and in fact, for America’s future.
I want to be clear: the proposal we are passing this week contains the majority of key science and innovation measures that the Senate passed last summer. It will make historic investments to scientific research. It will take direct aim at our nation’s chips crisis. Alongside the infrastructure law and our recent gun safety law, among others, it is one of the most consequential bipartisan achievements of this Congress. I thank all of my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle who are helping to make this happen.
I am confident that future generations will look back on the passage of this chips and science bill as a turning point for American leadership in the 21st Century. But it didn’t come together overnight: the legislation has been several years in the making.
In 2019, I approached my Republican colleague Todd Young with a proposal to work together on legislation to revive America’s commitment to science and innovation. Together we drafted the first iteration of many policies we are passing this week, the Endless Frontier Act.
A year later, I joined with my colleagues, Senators Cornyn and Warner, to push for the authorization of new federal CHIPS initiative as part of the NDAA, to address our nation’s growing chip shortage.
We all knew that America faced a choice: we could keep underfunding science and innovation—and continue to let America fall behind our global competitors—or we could wake up to the challenges of this century, and empower the American people to unleash the next wave of discovery and scientific achievement.
We knew that if we didn’t get there first, our rivals—chief among them the Chinese Communist Party—would likely beat us to the punch and reshape the world in their authoritarian image.
In February of 2021—less than a month after I became Majority Leader— I directed the chairs and members of our relevant committees to start drafting a legislative package to outcompete China and create new American jobs, with the Endless Frontier Act serving as the core of this effort.
I also instructed them to draft legislation to rebuild the capacity of the United States semiconductor industry. The pandemic made clear—with unforgiving clarity—how America’s chip shortage was creating a crisis in our economic and national security. So members on both sides of the aisle—this has been a bipartisan effort from the get-go—got to work.
We made a commitment last February that if both sides worked together, we’d bring a bill to the floor for a vote in the spring, and that’s what we did when the Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act with overwhelming bipartisan support in June of 2021.
A year later, the legislation we are passing this week has many of the important measures contained in the bill we worked on last summer.
For example, last year’s bill secured historic investments for science and innovation.
This bill does too.
Last year’s bill offered tens of billions to encourage American chip manufacturing and R&D.
This bill does that too, and even more with the Investment Tax Credit provisions.
Last year’s bill provided funding to help build wireless communications supply chain to counter Huawei.
This bill does too.
Last year’s bill created the National Science Foundation Tech Directorate and provided funding to the Department of Energy National Labs to help compete with foreign rivals in key technologies like AI and Quantum computing.
This bill does too.
Last year’s bill made major new investments in Manufacturing USA and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, to strengthen domestic supply chains.
This bill does too.
And last year’s bill created a first-ever program to cultivate the tech hubs of tomorrow, in regions around the United States that have enormous potential but have largely been overlooked. Not the big megalopolises which have a lot of tech in them, like New York City and San Francisco, but smaller regions that have great talent but have been overlooked; they might be in upstate New York; they might be in Indiana and many other parts of the country.
And this bill is making sure that happens.
Now let me be clear: while this bill contains the two major components of the science and chips bill, there are other major proposals from both sides that are still being worked on in the conference committee. Make no mistake that there are many Democrats and Republicans who have provisions that will be contained in the conference report under Chair Cantwell’s leadership, and it is my intention to put the Conference Committee bill on the floor of the Senate.
As I said a moment ago, I firmly believe that passing this bill will be a turning point for American leadership in this century, the benefits of this legislation will reverberate across the country for years and decades to come.
For much of the twentieth century, America was without peer in our commitment to scientific research, to innovation, to manufacturing, new cutting-edge manufacturing. It led to tens of millions of good-paying jobs and made the US the unquestioned economic leader of the world.
Today the story is different: nations around the world are spending tens of billions of dollars to secure this century much like America secured the last one. Sadly, the federal government’s commitment to science has waned in recent decades. In fact, as a percentage of GDP, we spend less than half as much as the Chinese Communist Party on basic research – less than half, which is even more devastating given China has spent decades stealing America’s intellectual property.
With this bill, that is finally going to change.
We will not only create the good-paying jobs of tomorrow, we will not only fix our supply chains and bring costs down for American families, with this bill we will reawaken the spirit of discovery, innovation, and optimism that made America the envy of the world.
We don’t mean to let the days of American leadership end on our watch. We don’t mean to see America become a middling nation in this century.
We mean for America to lead this century. For that reason, I urge my colleagues to give a resounding vote YES on cloture at 11 AM today.