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Enactment of CHIPS

Read on to learn more about SWE's involvement with the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.
Enactment of CHIPS - CHIPS

On August 9, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. Much has been said about the legislation and the process that led it to the President’s desk. The legislation authorizes $280 billion of spending to bolster innovation and tech hubs in America, including support for basic research and strengthening the manufacturing of semiconductor chips. Lawmakers deemed it a historic investment in technology and job creation. 

There are other provisions in the bill that didn’t make the headlines. Provisions that have been legislative priorities for the Society of Women Engineers for years. For several congresses, SWE has joined allies in the STEM advocacy community to support enactment of the STEM Opportunities Act (HR 204/S 2224) and the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act (HR 2695/S 1379). The organization has also asserted that National Science Foundation activities to support broadening participation in STEM fields are crucial to the field. The same is true for supporting early exposure to STEM disciplines, as well as supporting a diverse STEM teaching workforce. Earlier this year, SWE wrote a letter to the House and Senate lawmakers sharing these and other priorities, asking they be included in a final competitiveness package. Many of the requests were honored. 

SWE members who participated in the 2022 Capitol Hill Day talked about the competitiveness legislation during their meetings with Congressional offices. Those who participated in the 2021 Capitol Hill Day talked about the importance of the STEM Opportunities Act and the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act. The same is true for those who participated in 2020. It is clear that successful advocacy requires persistence and patience. 

SWE had many friends in its efforts. Perhaps chief among them is House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). She sponsored several pieces of legislation that have been on SWE’s list of priorities, and fought for their inclusion in the final bill. She is retiring at the end of the year, and SWE and others committed to supporting women in STEM will miss her. 

The headline-making provisions of the legislation will affect women engineers nationwide. The bill invests $53 billion in the domestic semiconductor industry and $200 billion in scientific research, including a technology directorate at the National Science Foundation meant to translate basic research into commercial products. According to the White House, “The CHIPS and Science Act will boost American semiconductor research, development, and production, ensuring U.S. leadership in the technology that forms the foundation of everything from automobiles to household appliances to defense systems.” 

SWE is looking forward to working with the agencies charged with implementing the new law and building on its promise with allies on Capitol Hill.

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