A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., sent a letter to Senate Appropriators urging them to fully fund the CHIPS and Science Act in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Appropriations Bill to ensure the United States remains a global leader in innovative, emerging technologies.


The senators explained that twice before Congress authorized meaningful scientific funding – through the America COMPETES Act of 2007 and 2010 – only for the actual appropriated funding levels to fall short of expectations. 


According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, key research agencies would have received an additional $77 billion over the past 15 years under a COMPETES 2007 funding path.


“The lack of funding for these efforts prohibited agencies from fully delivering on their potential,” the senators wrote in the Nov. 21 letter. “Instead of the rapid growth in technological strength Congress envisioned, the United States has suffered insufficient growth in the skilled workforce, increased supply chain vulnerabilities, and rising competition from overseas.”


“To fulfill the promise of the CHIPS and Science Act, Congress must avoid the funding pitfalls that followed previous COMPETES Acts and fully fund the Chips and Science Act,” they added. 


The bipartisan group outlined four critical priorities in the bill that must be fully funded, including the Department of Commerce Regional Technology Hubs and Recompete Pilot Program; the National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships; the NSF Research and Workforce Development efforts; and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and Manufacturing USA institutes.


Sen. Cantwell was joined in the letter by Sens. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Jon Tester, D-Mont., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Bill Cassidy, R-La., Chris Coons, D-Del., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rev. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.