On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I write in support of the CHIPS Act of 2022, which contains $52 billion for investment in domestic semiconductor funding, including $2 billion in funding for production of mature semiconductor technologies in the United States that are necessary to the production of cars, trucks, and agricultural equipment.
Passage of this legislation will ensure access to critical technologies, increase national security, and remove impediments and roadblocks to the domestic production of future technologies. The need for this legislation has become apparent with the supply shortages that have plagued domestic production for the past several years.
We also support the added measures that will strengthen US technology and innovation infrastructure by providing resources to the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy, and other federal technology and science efforts.
While we support passage of this legislation, it must be noted that this package does not include critical bills and programs that were part of the larger Bipartisan Innovation Act conference that was being negotiated.
We will continue to advocate for the swift passage of the now-lapsed Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program that has provided critical retraining to workers for decades. Workers deserve this support. But as we fund high-tech semiconductor manufacturing plants, it makes even more sense to give workers who lose a job through no fault of their own access to the training and support that will help them obtain employment at these new facilities.
In addition, we will continue advocating for timely passage of bills that will strengthen US trade laws and make the United States more competitive with China, including bipartisan legislation such as Leveling the Playing Field Act 2.0, the National Critical Capabilities Defense Act, de Minimis reform, resilient supply chains, and other measures.
The passage of CHIPS funding and the included technology and innovation measures is an important first step. But we can and must do more to make the United States more competitive with trading partners like China that refuse to play by the rules.
Director, Government Affair