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Policy Insider: September 7, 2022

CHIPS and Science Act, Inflation Reduction Act, and wildfire legislation

Sep 7, 2022 - by Staff

CHIPS and Science Act: The $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 was signed into law on August 9. The bill invests in creating helpful incentives to produce semiconductors (CHIPS) for America fund, which aims to boost domestic manufacturing of semiconductors. The act will also  increase budgets for federal research agencies including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). 

The act provides $54.2 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for semiconductor manufacturing incentives, research and development, workforce development, technology security, and public wireless supply chain innovation.

It also authorizes $200 billion over 10 years for research and innovation, including substantial growth in authorizations for programs to expand the NSF's work. However, unlike the funding aimed at increasing production of semiconductors, this funding is not an actual appropriation. It is simply an authorization for Congress to pass funding up to the specified levels for these investments within future annual appropriations legislation and within established discretionary caps. In other words, the additional spending would have to come out of the same pot of funds that will already be available for annual discretionary appropriations.

Below are fact sheets provided by the House Science Committee for each Title included in the Research and Innovation division of the package:

-   Title I: Department of Energy Science for the Future

-   Title II: National Institute of Standards and Technology For The Future

-   Title III: National Science Foundation for the Future

-   Title IV: Bioeconomy Research and Development

-   Title V: Broadening Participation in Science

-   Title VI: Miscellaneous Science and Technology Provisions

-   Title VII: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act

Inflation Reduction Act: The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 (H.R.5376), signed into law on August 18, 2022, will tackle the climate crisis as the most significant legislation in US history to reduce pollution, advance environmental justice, and improve American energy security.

The IRA climate bill came as a welcomed surprise to many leading climate scientists. The bill, which claims to cut emissions 40% from 2005 levels by 2030, has also faced some criticism for leaving out provisions such as climate-resilient building codes, as well as for supporting the fossil fuel industry.

Western senators Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Kyrtsen Sinema (D-AZ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) had  $4 billion included in the IRA for drought relief in the West. This federal funding is desperately needed as water levels dwindle, the climate warms, and fires intensify

Title IV of the IRA provides total dedicated funding of $3.26 billion for NOAA. The programs included in this funding are Investing in Coastal Communities & Climate Resilience; Facilities of NOAA; NOAA Efficient & Effective Reviews; Forecasting & Research; Research Grants & Science Information; Computing Capacity & Research; and Acquisition of Hurricane Forecasting Aircraft.

The IRA will also create almost 1 million sustained jobs through its investment in clean energy and domestic manufacturing.

Wildfire legislation: On Friday July 29, 2022, the House passed a package of 49 bills, called the Continental Divide Trail Completion Act (H.R.5118), with the goal to aid wildfire and drought emergencies in the West. Now the legislation faces uncertainty in the Senate. Although several of the bills in the package are bipartisan, and the issues of wildfire and drought are of both Republican and Democrat concern, Republicans largely oppose the package. Their main argument is centered around the national budget deficit; they argue that the programs and authorizations included in the bills do not have guaranteed funding and would increase the budget deficit.

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