Semiconductor, science bill passes Senate, heads to House

The science provisions include a five-year $102 billion authorization for the National Science Foundation, Commerce Department and National Institutes of Standards and Technology to increase investments in research and development. If appropriators provide those authorized funds in the annual spending bills, it would represent a $52 billion increase over baseline funding.

The bulk of the five-year funding authorization, $81 billion, is for the NSF; $36 billion of that is on top of baseline funding, including $20 billion for a technology, innovation and partnerships directorate. The measure would also set aside 20 percent of the authorized NSF funds for 25 states and three territories that typically lack the population and financial resources to compete with bigger states for research dollars.

The $11 billion Commerce Department authorization, all of which is on top of baseline funding, includes $10 billion for regional technology hubs and $1 billion for a pilot program to provide economic development grants to persistently distressed communities. The $9 billion authorization for NIST, which would represent a $4 billion increase over baseline funding, is focused on boosting smaller manufacturers, shoring up the domestic supply chain and building education and workforce development programs.

The bill would also provide five-year funding authorizations for various Energy Department research and development programs and facility upgrades, including roughly $15 billion for basic energy sciences, around $7 billion each for advanced scientific computing and high-energy physics, roughly $6 billion for nuclear physics and nearly $5 billion for biological and environmental sciences, among others.

Finishing broader bill?

Schumer and senators from both parties who were involved in conference negotiations on the broader Senate and House competition bills have said they want to see that process play out so pieces left out of the current measure can still make it to Biden’s desk.

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