Matt Furlow
Policy Director, Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Published

January 10, 2023

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In the final days of the 117th Congress this December, Congress passed an omnibus appropriations package for fiscal year 2023. Included in this bill is a major down-payment on the science and competitiveness investments made by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, totaling $9.5 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and $1.6 billion for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  

Fill me in:

With the Chamber’s strong support, Congress enacted the CHIPS and Science Act last August. Most have focused on the Act’s transformative and crucial investments in America’s domestic semiconductor industry, but less so on significant strides to reinvigorate America’s federal research and development (R&D) enterprise. The Act established and continued numerous R&D programs  over a five-year period, at federal agencies including the Department of Energy, NSF, and NIST.  

By the numbers:  

  • $81 billion in authorized spending for the National Science Foundation. Of which, $20 billion is allocated for the NSF’s new Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships to accelerate critical technologies such as AI, 6G communications, and advanced manufacturing.  
  • $10 billion in authorized spending for Regional Technology Hubs, a new Department of Commerce program that seeks to create at least 20 new R&D and economic hubs across the United States to help ensure geographically diverse technology and innovation investments. 
  • $10 billion in authorized spending for the National Institute of Science and Technology to increasing NIST’s R&D and standards-supporting activities and boosting small and medium-sized manufacturers. 

Yes, but, 

Unlike the investments made in semiconductors, these science and competitiveness investments were only authorized, not appropriated, and thus requires additional Congressional action in the years ahead. Fortunately, Congress prioritized science and competitiveness investments in the Omnibus, including $1.8 billion in new funding to start implementing the CHIPS and Science Act: 

  • $9.5 billion for the National Science Foundation, an increase of $700 million, but still several billion short from the levels authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act. 
  • $1.6 billion for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, nearly a $400 million increase.

Our take:   

“The national research enterprise is a crucial building block of America’s global economic competitiveness and national security,” said Tom Quaadman executive vice president at the U.S. Chamber.  

The bottom line:   

To ensure the Chips and Science Act is fully implemented, the 118th Congress must build on the appropriations work completed last year to ensure robust funding for key federal agencies and initiatives. America’s leadership in innovation and technologies of the future depend on it.  

About the authors

Matt Furlow

Matt Furlow

Policy Director, Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce