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CHIPS Is Broken. I’m Fixing It.

The Biden administration has failed to get out of the way of American manufacturers.

Congressional Members Work On Legislation On Capitol Hill
Credit: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

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. 

In short, taxpayers were sold a bag of goods with this $280 billion dollar bill that is doing exactly nothing to boost American production of these critical resources. To fix this, I have introduced a bill, the Chips Improvement Act, along with my colleague, Senator Mike Lee. The bill does two things. First, it removes every single one of the ridiculous regulations that have crippled manufacturing and brought the program to a screeching halt. Second, it prohibits the federal government from evaluating companies for grants based on whether they use DEI hiring initiatives, provide full time childcare or adult care, give housing vouchers, or institute “environmental justice efforts.” It is not the federal government’s job to impose these woke requirements on private industry, especially when there is so much money at stake.

The Chinese Communist Party is our top adversary, and they will not rest until they have overtaken the United States as the world’s top superpower. The days of kowtowing to our competitors are behind us—we have to show strength by putting American manufacturing first on the world stage. Under President Trump, American companies enjoyed low opposing tariffs, low taxes, low inflation, and significantly less red tape. This led many businesses to move their facilities from China and Mexico back to the United States. But with Joe Biden’s high taxes, crushing regulations, and soaring inflation, it’s often cheaper for companies to take their business elsewhere. This isn’t brain surgery. If you clear the way for businesses to manufacture and thrive in America, they will come. 

The CHIPS Act has potential, but it needs reforms to become effective. Our country simply cannot afford to allow China to continue to out-compete us in technology and manufacturing over the next generation. By removing the woke regulations that have nothing to do with job creation and are causing significant delays, we can get government out of the way and allow this bill to do what it was designed to do: end American reliance on China.