ICYMI: Tuberville in The American Conservative: “CHIPS Is Broken. I’m Fixing It.”

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) penned an op-ed in The American Conservative following his introduction of the CHIPS Improvement Act, legislation to right the wrongs of the CHIPS and Science Act (CHIPS) and end American reliance on China. Signed into law in 2022, the CHIPS Act was intended to move the semiconductor manufacturing industry from China to America. In his op-ed, Sen. Tuberville explains that the final version of the CHIPS Act includes so much red tape, including DEI requirements and “environmental justice” initiatives, that companies are experiencing significant delays in the implementation of the law and in accessing its related funding opportunities. Sen. Tuberville outlines how his bill corrects the issue in two ways—by removing every unnecessary provision from the CHIPS Act that does not directly support domestic manufacturing and by removing woke criteria used to determine a company’s eligibility for the program.

Read excerpts below or the full op-ed here.

“Technology has drastically changed every aspect of how companies do business. For far too long, American manufacturing has been stuck in the past while our competitors invested in the future. As a result, countries like China have monopolized large parts of the chip and semiconductor industries—resulting in many American companies importing goods and technologies we could be making right here at home.

Two years ago, Congress passed the Chips and Science Act (CHIPS), a bill meant to move the semiconductor manufacturing industry from abroad to America. When first introduced, the bill was intended to allow American companies to apply for funding to support construction of commercial fabrication facilities (fabs), necessary materials, and manufacturing equipment facilities. Unfortunately, as the legislation made its way through Congress, it veered significantly off-track and included poison pills designed to implement Joe Biden’s woke environmental and DEI agenda. For example, the final bill that was signed into law included billions in taxpayer dollars to support research and development at the National Science Foundation. It also included provision after provision of mandates related to DEI hiring plans, investment in ‘disadvantaged’ or ‘underserved’ populations, and environmental justice efforts in its pursuit of a new semiconductor supply chain. 

All of this red tape has predictably caused significant delays in the implementation of the CHIPS program. In fact, these policies, and subsequent funding eligibility requirements, have slowed implementation of the bill to a near halt. In the last six months, three of the major chip makers in the world have delayed construction of new fabs in the U.S. due to the onerous requirements created by the bill and the unnecessary delay of funding. Several companies are saying 2028 is the earliest they will be able to break ground under the current legislation.

While the CHIPS Act was meant to shore up domestic manufacturing, the Biden administration recently announced they would use some of the funding to produce semiconductors in Kenya. Per the language of the bill, the Secretary of State is authorized to transfer money from the CHIPS Act to foreign aid accounts within the Department of State, USAID, and other agencies, to be used for vague semiconductor supply-chain purposes, as determined by the secretary. Essentially, the CHIPS Act established yet another foreign-aid slush fund to be used by the State Department for whatever they want. This is the opposite of an ‘America first’ approach.”

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.