After Tester Efforts, Bipartisan Bill to Outcompete China and Bring Back High-Tech American Manufacturing Jobs Passes Senate

Montana companies & universities praise bill; Senator was only member of Montana delegation appointed to legislation’s conference Committee

Continuing his push to create good-paying jobs and maintain America’s competitive edge over China, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today voted to pass the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, legislation that will invest in high-tech manufacturing across the country, strengthen technology supply chains, and bolster development of cutting-edge research in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Senator Tester has been Montana’s leading champion for China competitiveness legislation and was the only member of the state’s delegation appointed to the legislation’s conference committee tasked with crafting the final version of the bill.

“This bipartisan legislation is focused on two things: bringing good-paying jobs back to America and maintaining our position as the world’s leading economic power in the face of China’s efforts to dominate the global economy,” said Tester. “I fought hard to ensure this bill reverses the trend of outsourcing critical manufacturing to foreign countries and instead invests in rural America by boosting high-tech production at home, strengthening supply chains, and increasing domestic research and development. I’m proud to have worked with Republicans and Democrats who put country over party in order to get this bill across the finish line and secure our nation’s economic future for our kids and grandkids.”

The bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act includes a number of priorities Senator Tester fought for as Montana’s sole member of the legislation’s conference committee, including:

  • $39 billion to build semiconductors: financial assistance to build, expand, or modernize domestic facilities and equipment for semiconductor fabrication, assembly, testing, advanced packaging, or research and development. These investments will help bring a greater share of semiconductor manufacturing back to the U.S., bringing high-paying tech jobs, keeping the US at the cutting edge of this industry, and making US manufacturers more resilient to future supply-chain disruptions.
  • $10 billion for Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs, including in rural areas. These hubs were a top priority for Senator Tester and he pushed hard for them as a member of the Commerce Committee and during the legislation’s conference committee. Senator Tester’s efforts were applauded by the University of Montana and Montana State University.
    • The hubs will promote broad-based regional innovation initiatives. At least 20 hubs will be established, and language require that at least one-third provide significant benefits to small and rural areas. At least one must be headquartered in a low population state.
  • $11 billion in research and development investments across several Department of Commerce programs for a National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), a National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program, the Manufacturing USA Semiconductor Institute, and a Microelectronics Metrology research and development program.
  • $13 billion authorized for the National Science Foundation (NSF) for STEM workforce activities, including scholarships, fellowships, and traineeships to create workers in critical fields, including to establishing an artificial intelligence scholarship-for-service program, a national network for microelectronics education, and cybersecurity workforce development programs.
  • $11.2 billion for research, development, and demonstration activities for next generation energy and energy-related technologies, including:
    • $800 million for renewable energy.
    • $1 billion for advanced manufacturing.
    • $1 billion for reducing industrial emissions.
    • $1 billion for grid modernization.
    • $1 billion for carbon capture and sequestration.
  • More than $7 billion for fusion energy research and development.
  • $2.75 billion for Department of Energy laboratory infrastructure.
  • $600 million for energy storage research.
  • $250 million for coal waste and carbon sequestration research.
  • $60 million for grants to states to support incubators to accelerate the commercial deployment of clean energy technologies.

“The Montana University System is grateful for Senator Tester’s support of the bipartisan Chips and Science Act, which directly benefits rural states such as Montana,” said Clayton Christian, Montana Commissioner of Higher Education. “Institutions like Montana State University and the University of Montana work every day to advance cutting edge research that supports vital state and national interests. This is a big win for Montana and for our state’s growing innovation economy.”

“Applied Materials applauds Senator Tester for his support of the CHIPS and Science Act,” said Gary E. Dickerson, President and CEO, Applied Materials, Inc. “At a time when semiconductor leadership is more important than ever to the economy, this critical legislation will bolster chip manufacturing and innovation, create jobs and strengthen the semiconductor supply chain in Montana and the United States.”

“REC Silicon is looking forward to the opportunities that the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act will provide companies like us in Montana and across the country to bolster America’s domestic manufacturing sector,” said Chuck Sutton, Vice President of FBR Polysilicon Sales, REC Silicon. “We appreciate the hard work of Senator Tester advocating for and including upstream suppliers like ourselves in the legislation so that we can strengthen all parts of our technology supply chain. It stands to provide a critical boost to our high-tech economy in rural America.”

Earlier this year, Senator Tester spoke at the first open session of the CHIPS and Science Act’s conference committee and laid out the importance of working across the aisle to complete the legislation and bring back good-paying jobs to America, bolstering the supply chain, and boosting research and development of new technologies.

As a longtime member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Tester has been a champion of investing in technological innovation in rural America. He has been the leader in pushing to expand rural broadband access that will spur economic growth in frontier communities. He recently secured a commitment from Secretary Raimondo to help bolster broadband in rural areas, and he secured $65 million to implement his bipartisan Broadband DATA Act, which updates federal broadband funding distribution maps to ensure accurate and efficient allocation of resources. Additionally, as the Chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, he has made bolstering military technology development one of his top priorities.

Bill text and a summary of the Chips and Science Act can be found HERE.