With a potential government shutdown looming over the horizon, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo warned lawmakers today of the “crushing” impact that a possible shutdown could have on the current work being done under the CHIPS and Science Act that passed last year.

During a House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology hearing today, Rep. Andrea Salinas, D-Ore., asked the secretary how “a government shutdown [could] actually affect all the rollouts and timelines” that the Commerce Department faces regarding the CHIPS Act.

“When I talk to members of Congress, they say, ‘How come you are not moving faster on CHIPS? Where’s this? Where’s that?’ We are literally working seven days a week to go as fast as we can,” said Raimondo.

“If there is a shutdown, it’ll come to a grinding halt. I mean, there is there is no question in my mind, this shutdown will hurt America’s national security,” she added. “At least as it relates to my work, export control enforcement, export control work, investment of the CHIPS money, investment of the Tech Hub money, it all stops and every dollar and every day that we aren’t working … puts us at a greater risk.”

The testimony comes as the CHIPS and Science Act recently reached its one-year anniversary of becoming law, and many lawmakers are looking to understand how its funds are being used as well as progress on the development of domestic semiconductors.

“We’ve made significant progress since about a year ago when the bill was passed. As evidence of that for CHIPS, we received more than 500 statements of interest from companies who want to participate and about 100 applications for the incentive programs. So, we are on track to launch the National Semiconductor Technology Center this fall,” stated Raimondo.

Additionally, Raimondo made it clear that the final guardrails prohibiting companies that accept grants from the CHIPS Act from expanding or building a semiconductor plant in China will be coming within a matter of weeks.

“The whole purpose of the CHIPS program is national security. And so, we have to be absolutely vigilant that not a penny of this helps China to get ahead of us, and that none of these companies who receive our money do any research with China or investment in China that in any way undermines our own national security,” Raimondo said.

“So, very soon, it’ll be out, and I look forward to working with all of you to implement this program to achieve its goals,” she concluded.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.