Kelly and Blackburn Introduce Bill to Boost American Innovation, Leadership on Microchip Technology

Today, U.S Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Microelectronics Research for Energy Innovation Act, bipartisan legislation to further accelerate American innovation and leadership in microchip technology by establishing two new microchip research and development programs within the Department of Energy. Over the past 60 years, the United States has led the world in the research and development of the most advanced microchips that power everything from cars and coffee machines to fighter jets.

“At a time when our adversaries, like China, are doubling down on investments on microchip technology, our legislation ensures that America can continue to innovate and outcompete our adversaries in technology critical to our national defense and economy,” said Senator Kelly. “Boosting investments into microchip research and development will allow us to create more high-paying jobs, alleviate supply chain issues driving up costs, and reduce our reliance on foreign countries for this technology.” 

The Microelectronics Research for Energy Innovation Act will ensure the United States continues to lead in the research and development of the most advanced microchips by:

  • Prioritizing Investments in Microelectronics Research: Kelly and Blackburn’s legislation would require the Department of Energy to establish a dedicated research program focused on research, development, and demonstration of next-generation microelectronics. The Secretary would ensure that all research activities support commercial technology transfers and identify opportunities to enhance workforce development. 
  • Microelectronics Science Research Centers: Kelly and Blackburn’s legislation creates four Microelectronics Science Research Centers, to be located at National Laboratories, Universities, non-profit or commercial research entities, or consortiums to carry out research activities focused on addressing the foundational challenges in design, development, prototyping, demonstration, and fabrication of microelectronics. These research centers are required to coordinate with other federal programs focused on microelectronics R&D, and would be required to support technology transfer and workforce development initiatives to support the private sector. 

Arizona is home to one of the largest microchip industries in the country, with nearly 30,000 jobs, and is poised to grow with investment plans from Intel and the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Since taking office, Kelly has continued to champion legislation that invests in domestic microchip research, development, and manufacturing. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed a Kelly-shaped bill to boost domestic manufacturing of microchip technology and strengthen America’s global competitiveness. This bill included the Kelly-negotiated $52 billion plan to tackle the global microchip shortage by boosting American domestic investments in microchip production and research. Kelly is an original cosponsor of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA). 

Read the text of the Microelectronics Research for Energy Innovation Act HERE