Government Shutdown Threatens U.S. CHIPS Act Funding

(Image credit: Intel)

A potential government shutdown poses a grave threat to the U.S.'s semiconductor initiatives, notably the CHIPS and Science Act, said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, reports NextGov. While a short-term bill prevented immediate disruptions, longer-term uncertainty remains.

"It goes without saying that China, Russia, Iran are not shutting down," Raimondo said before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Wednesday. "The work we are doing in the CHIPS Act is essential to our national security, and any shutdown would be massively disruptive to our ability to stay on the pace that we're on in implementing this very important work."

Secretary Raimondo voiced concerns regarding the repercussions of a government shutdown on the ongoing semiconductor endeavors. At stake are the CHIPS and Science Act, through which the government plans to bolster national economy and security. She underscored the importance of consistent operations, hinting that countries like China face no such interruptions and continue to fund their semiconductor initiatives.

The CHIPS Act, introduced in 2021, has allocated nearly $280 billion for domestic semiconductor research and manufacturing over the next ten years. Of this, $200 billion is earmarked for scientific research, development, and bringing innovations to market. Additionally, $52.7 billion is designated for semiconductor manufacturing, research, and talent growth, complemented by $24 billion in tax incentives for chip production. 

With such funding, the U.S. hopes to make headway in semiconductor manufacturing, reducing its dependence on foreign supply chains. The imminent nature of this task was further emphasized by Raimondo when she pointed out the global competitive landscape.

One of the pivotal announcements awaited from the Commerce Department pertains to the 'Tech Hubs program.'Embedded within the CHIPS Act, this $10 billion initiative seeks to foster tech-led economic growth nationwide. For its kick-off in 2023, the program received an allocation of $500 million, and its popularity is evident from the whopping 400-plus applications it has already garnered.

"We have been overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of the tech hub applications," Raimondo said. "If we come away with nothing else, it is clear that this is worthy of more funding."

Yet, while the short-term spending bill has provided a temporary reprieve, lasting only until November 17, the broader question of consistent government funding lingers. Adding to the political volatility, Rep. Kevin McCarthy faced an unprecedented removal from his Speaker role, showcasing the tense atmosphere and potential roadblocks for future spending bills.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.