Durbin: With The CHIPS And Science Act, We Can Kick-Start A New Generation Of Discovery

Senate-passed bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, critical legislation for our economy and national security, provides billions to boost domestic semiconductor capabilities, groundbreaking scientific research at Fermilab and Argonne

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) applauded the Senate passage of the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, critical legislation for our economy and national security that provides billions to boost our domestic semiconductor manufacturing capabilities. During his speech, Durbin highlighted the need to increase domestic microchip production, as microchips are used in everything from refrigerators to smartphones to cars. In 1990, America produced nearly 40 percent of the world’s supply of microchips. But today, America produces only 12 percent of the world’s supply.

Durbin said, “But with the coronavirus pandemic, supply chains have been snarled, which has led to a shortage of microchips. This has had a devastating impact on consumers, businesses, and workers.  Over the past two years, the price of a new car has skyrocketed by 20 percent—and 40 percent for used cars.”

Durbin also highlighted the impacts this legislation will have in Illinois. A company in Illinois, Stellantis, which operates an assembly plant in Belvidere, has been forced to shut down production several times in recent years.

“Today, the Senate did something remarkable,” continued Durbin. “We passed a bill, a bipartisan bill. We came to the rescue of job creators. We are voting to invest billions of dollars to make microchips here in America. This bill is critical to the future of our economy.”

The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 will also help our national security. Many U.S. defense systems and platforms rely on foreign-made chips for their performance, and semiconductors are particularly critical for next-generation defense technologies.

Durbin continued, “But in the near term, the CHIPS Act is imperative for shoring up our nation’s supply chain and strengthening our defense systems.  It is essential not just for smartphones but for guided missile systems and fighter jets. And right now, America too often relies on our foreign suppliers—like China—to supply us with microchips.”

The legislation also contributes to good paying jobs right here in America. The bill includes guardrails to promote and protect production in the U.S., such as prohibiting the manufacturing of certain chips in countries of concern like China. 

“The CHIPS bill will bring good jobs to our country,” Durbin said, “There are countries investing billions of dollars in luring chipmakers away from us. The CHIPS Act will incentivize the biggest names in manufacturing to make it in America.”

The CHIPS and Science Act will also help pioneer world-changing innovations with historic funding authorizations for groundbreaking scientific research—particularly within the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The bill will authorize billions of dollars in new funding for laboratories across the country—including two in Illinois: Argonne and Fermilab. With this funding, these facilities will break new ground in researching emerging technologies—like AI and quantum computing. Argonne and Fermilab have already partnered together—along with the University of Chicago—to launch the most advanced quantum network in the world. 

Durbin continued, “When we support scientists and researchers in exploring the unknown, we are paving the way for discoveries... And much like space exploration was 50 years ago, today, quantum computing is a new frontier in science… These are the possibilities before us with the CHIPS Act.  The passage of the CHIPS and Science Act today on the floor of the United States Senate is a vindication of our commitment to this nation's future and an investment that generations will thank us for.”

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.