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Rep. Tonko hails CHIPS and Science Act

Capital Region Congressman Paul Tonko updates reporters on CHIPS at his Albany office, July 31, 2022.
Dave Lucas
Capital Region Congressman Paul Tonko updates reporters on the CHIPS and Science Act at his Albany office, July 31, 2022.

Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko was in Albany Sunday touting the CHIPS and Science Act, which is now on President Biden’s desk.

The nation's semiconductor industry and the Capital Region are set to get a huge boost from the bill Tonko heralds as a measure that will raise manufacturing to a new level.

"American economic strength has always been built on consistent investments in her people, in innovation, and institutions," said Tonko. "However, in recent years, we have neglected to make, I believe, the very certain technological development a priority for our present and future economy. In particular, America's share of global semiconductor production has plummeted over the last couple of decades, with 37% of the world's share manufactured here in the U.S. in 1990. And today, that has slipped to just 12%. So that is part of the supply crisis situation that impacts all of manufacturing."

The Democrat from the 20th district says failure to produce enough chips at home has left the United States vulnerable to shortages in global supply chains. He says the package will bolster domestic supply chains and create jobs in New York and nationwide.

"We'll deliver the largest five-year investment in public R&D in our nation's history, including $52 billion toward a semiconductor research effort and production," Tonko said. "I'm especially proud of the House of Representatives' contributions to this legislation. We weren't just going to provide for the resources for the industry. We made certain that it included provisions that put in place financial guardrails to make certain that American dollars will only benefit American industry and workers. And at the same time, these investments will promote diversity, equity and inclusion our nation's STEM workforce."

Tonko says the CHIPS Act will lower the prices of everything from cars to consumer goods while creating 100,000 new "good paying" jobs. He vows to continue to work to make certain the momentum is there to establish the National Semiconductor Technology Center in the Capital Region, a pledge also made by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

"Think of it," said Tonko. "We have the manufacturing to one of the greatest degrees here in this region, with GlobalFoundries. We have the research efforts being done at Nanosciences campus. And so it's a logical, continued growth here for the industry, by having that research center here. Furthermore, as the home of the United States only major semiconductor manufacturer, right now, GlobalFoundries, the Capital Region has one of the nation's fastest growing electronics industries. And with these investments, we will continue to be a leader in restoring America's competitiveness, and its technological independence."

President Biden is expected to sign the bill.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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