US Passes $250 Billion Technology Bill for Chips, AI and Robotics

The US passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a $250 billion bill promoting US semiconductors, AI, robotics and technology.

It authorizes $81 billion for NSF, including $29 billion over five years for the new directorate. It directs the Department of Commerce to designate regional technology hubs across the country, and authorizes $10 billion over five years for these hubs. The bill appropriates $52.7 billion for incentivizing domestic semiconductor fabrication and $1.5 billion for 5G innovation. It takes steps to counter the Chinese Communist Party by addressing China’s political influence in universities, countering predatory economic practices like IP theft, and expanding and strengthening our alliances. The bill requires sanctions against foreign entities or people that the president identifies each year as having supported or engaged in cyberattacks or otherwise undermined U.S. cybersecurity on China’s behalf.

* 52 billion to fund the semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing initiatives.
* funding for scientific research, subsidies for chipmakers and robot makers, and an overhaul of the National Science Foundation.
* Endless Frontier overhauls the National Science Foundation, appropriates tens of billions for the NSF between fiscal 2022 and 2026, and establishes a Directorate for Technology and Innovation.

Establishes 10 “technology focus areas” for the National Science Foundation to focus on:

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomy, and related advances

High-performance computing, semiconductors, and advanced computer hardware and software

Quantum information science and technology

Robotics, automation, and advanced manufacturing

Natural and anthropogenic disaster prevention or mitigation

Advanced communications technology and immersive technology

Biotechnology, medical technology, genomics, and synthetic biology

Data storage, data management, distributed ledger technologies, and cybersecurity, including biometrics

Advanced energy, industrial efficiency technologies including batteries, and advanced nuclear technologies including for the purposes of electric generation

Advanced materials science, including composites and 2D materials

Regional Innovation Capacity

Directs the Department of Commerce to designate regional technology hubs across the country to support regional economic development in innovation. Authorizes $10 billion over five years for the hubs.

Requires agency heads, in consultation with the secretary of commerce, to establish policies to promote domestic production of technologies developed by the Manufacturing USA Network.

Authorizes $2.4 billion for The Manufacturing Extension Partnership over FY 2022 – FY 2026.

Authorizes $1.2 billion for the Manufacturing USA Program over FY 2022 – FY 2026.

Creates a National Manufacturing Advisory Council.

Research Security

Establishes a Research Security and Policy Office in the Office of the Director responsible for coordinating all research security policy issues for the NSF. Authorizes $5 million for the office per year from FY 2022 – FY 2026.

Requires the OSTP director to contract with an independent organization to establish a Research Security and Integrity Information Sharing Analysis Organization.

Requires the OSTP director and an interagency working group to develop a uniform set of policy guidelines covering federal science agencies that would prohibit all personnel of each covered agency from participating in a foreign government talent recruitment program.

Prohibits all awardees from participating in a Chinese foreign government talent recruitment program.

Requires the NSF director to work with institutions of higher education on initiatives to support IP protection, limit undue influence, and support domestic talent development.

Requires the comptroller general to conduct a study on federal funding made available to foreign entities of concern for research during the past five years.

Requires NSF to develop a plan to identify research areas that may contain sensitive information and to provide for background screening for individuals employed or funded by NSF.