by Maryam Khan Cope, Director, Government Affairs
Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of Senate leaders introduced legislation, the Industries of the Future Act of 2020 (S. 3191), aimed at advancing U.S. leadership in the semiconductor-enabled technologies of the future, including artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing, quantum computing, and next-generation wireless networks. SIA applauds the introduction of the bill and urges Congress to consider and approve it.
The legislation would help plan and fund research needed to develop and implement the must-win technologies that will determine global economic leadership for decades to come. Among other provisions, the bill would: 1) require the Administration to develop a report on government R&D programs focused on the industries of the future; 2) require a plan for doubling the baseline investments in these industries by 2022 and increasing civilian spending in these areas to $10 billion by 2025; and 3) require the Administration to propose legislation to implement these spending plans. The bill was introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, along with Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and Gary Peters (D-Mich.).
Industries of the Future Act of 2020 is largely aligned with a core recommendation of SIA’s policy agenda, titled “Winning the Future: A Blueprint for Sustained U.S. Leadership in Semiconductor Technology.” That report showed that while the U.S. semiconductor industry invested nearly $40 billion in research in 2018, among the highest share of revenue of any industry, U.S. government investment in research has been declining compared to key global competitors, most notably China. The report called for tripling federal investment in semiconductor research over five years from their current levels to about $5 billion annually and doubling funding for semiconductor-related fields from current levels to nearly $9 billion annually. Federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense support research critical to advancing semiconductor technology and ensuring sustained U.S. leadership in the technologies of the future.
SIA commends introduction of this legislation and looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration to advance federal investments in research that will strengthen America’s global economic and technological leadership.
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