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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Final Senate Passage Of Chips And Science Legislation

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor in advance of the final passage of the chips and science bill which will protect our national and economic security, lower costs, ease supply chains, 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:

For the last century, America’s prosperity was anchored on our country’s unmatched commitment to science research, technological growth, innovation, advanced manufacturing.

The question before the Senate, then, is simple: will that prosperity live on in the century to come? Are we on the brink of another generation of American ingenuity, of American discovery, of American leadership?

By passing our chips and science bill today, the Senate says yes, we are. And we are saying it in a loud, bipartisan voice.

Today, by approving one of the largest investments in science, technology, and manufacturing in decades—in decades—we say that America’s best years are yet to come.

This is a very good day for the American people and for American innovation. This legislation is going to create good paying jobs, it will alleviate supply chains, it will help lower costs, and it will protect America’s national security interests.

I am confident that future generations will look back on the passage of this bill as a turning point for American leadership in the 21st Century.

I admit that some of the policies—not all, but some—are esoteric, but they are vital. All too often we are told government and business think short term. This is one of the most significant pieces of long-term effect and thinking legislation that we have seen in this body in a very long time.

I believe that our grandchildren – and our grandchildren’s grandchildren – will work in jobs we cannot yet imagine because of the investments we’re making here today.

Like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the recent gun safety law, the Chips and Science bill is one of the major bipartisan achievements of this Congress.

But reaching this point was anything but easy. On the contrary: the legislation has been several years in the making, and it took a lot of twists and turns before reaching the finish line— it brought together industry, labor, universities, governors, mayors from both parties and from every region. And I thank my colleagues and their staff for pushing it over the line.

In 2019, I approached my Republican colleague Todd Young. We talked in the gym and he said that he was interested in the same types of investments that I was. And I said, let’s work together on legislation to revive America’s commitment to science and innovation. Together we drafted the first version of the Endless Frontier Act, a bill whose policies shaped today’s legislation.

A year later, we joined with Senators Cornyn and Warner to begin addressing our nation’s chip crisis by pushing for an authorization of new federal CHIPS as an incentive as part of the NDAA. And Senator Kelly of Arizona has been a major advocate for getting these chip programs done.

So even before this Congress began, members on both sides knew that we had to work together if we were to keep America competitive in the 21st century. We also 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. Frightening. A frightening prospect.

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 plug the dangerous holes in America’s semiconductor industry. I said to the people on both sides of the aisle that if both sides work together, I’d put a bill on the floor of the Senate later that spring. And that is what happened when we overwhelmingly passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of June 2021. It took three weeks, lots of debate, amendments, just as the senate ought to work. Even on major and difficult legislation as this has been. Senators Cantwell and Wicker were tremendous leaders in this effort and skillfully managed the floor process. They deserve a great deal of praise not only for passing last year’s bill but for their efforts this year as well.

A year later, the legislation we’re passing today contains many of the critical investments in that bill.

Both bills make historic investments in science and innovation, The original Endless Frontier and USICA bill and the bill we're passing today, CHIPs and Science: both bills make those investments. We will plant the seeds for developing the tech hubs of tomorrow, in places with great potential but which have been overshadowed by cities like San Francisco or Boston or Austin or New York City. The bill will help turn cities like Buffalo and Indianapolis into new centers for innovation, and the result will be countless new, good-paying jobs and a bright future for those areas for years to come.

Both bills will help end the chips crisis by offering tens of billions of dollars to encourage American chip manufacturing and R&D, and if anything, this year’s version is stronger because of the ITC provisions. It will create tens of thousands of high-tech manufacturing and Davis Bacon construction jobs from Albany, NY to New Albany, OH, and beyond. It is going to help lower costs for cars, washing machines, and so much more in the long run because our chip shortage will be alleviated.

Both bills establish the National Science Foundation Tech directorate and provide funding to the Department of Energy to achieve new breakthroughs in technologies like AI, Quantum Computing, cybersecurity, renewable energy, 5G, biotechnology, and other discoveries yet unknown.

And both bills provide funding to build wireless communication supply chain to counter Huawei. This was a top priority of my colleague Mark Warner and I thank him for his efforts in this regard.

The bottom line is this: today’s legislation is one of the largest investments in science, technology, and advanced manufacturing in decades.

Now of course, while this bill contains many critical investments in chips and scientific research, there are other major proposals from both sides that are still in the works within the conference committee.

That important work must continue, it will continue, and it is my intention to put the Conference Committee bill on the floor in September after their work is complete.

So let me be clear: today is a very good day for the American people and for the future of our country. I believe firmly that when signed into law, this bill will reawaken the spirit of discovery, innovation, and optimism that made America the envy of the world and will continue to do so. Because of the investments we are approving today, America will be the place where the next transformational breakthroughs in industry and science occur.

Nearly eighty years ago, Dr. Vannevar Bush, the head of the U.S. Office of Scientific Research, wrote in a report to President Truman that “Without scientific progress, no amount of achievement in other directions can insure our health, prosperity, and security in the modern world.”

The name of that report? It was called “Science: the Endless Frontier.” It’s the inspiration for much of the work we’ve devoted into passing this bill today.

In the wake of Dr. Bush’s report, we created the National Science Foundation, funded the national energy laboratories, split the atom, spliced the gene, landed a man on the moon, and unleashed the internet. We generated decades of American prosperity and fostered an innate sense of optimism in the American spirit.

Today we face the great task of renewing and strengthening that legacy, in a world of fierce competition. It’s no longer a situation where we can just leave it up to corporate America because we don’t have competition. Now there are nation-states funding and aiding their corporations. And authoritarian governments around the world are doing that too. Authoritarian nations and cheering for us to fail, hoping that we sit on our hands and not adapt to the changes in the 21st century. They believe that squabbling democracies like ours can’t unite around national priorities like this one. They believe that democracy itself is a relic of the past, and that by beating us to emerging technologies, autocracies around the world hope to re-shape the world in their own image.

Well, let me tell you something: I believe in America. I believe in our system. I believe that they will not succeed. I believe that this legislation will enable the United States to out-innovate, out-produce, and out-compete the world in the industries of the future.

And I believe that the strongly bipartisan work on this bill reveals that, in this chamber, all of us, Democrats and Republicans, still believe that another American century lies on the horizon.

For these many worthy reasons, let us pass the Chips and Science bill today.