The House of Representatives passed the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength Act of 2022 (COMPETES) today by a 220-210 vote.

The House approval sets up a coming effort by negotiators from both chambers of Congress to combine the COMPETES Act with the Senate’s already-approved United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which contains similar provisions.

The COMPETES Act includes $52 billion in funding for CHIPS Act implementation, $45 billion for supply chain resiliency, the creation of a new technology directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF), as well as substantial increases in research and development investments.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the bill “helps to address supply chain disruptions while creating good-paying union jobs for American families with $52 billion in investments in facilities and equipment to produce American-made semiconductor chips.”

“The House took a critical vote today for stronger supply chains and lower prices, for more manufacturing – and good manufacturing jobs – right here in America, and for outcompeting China and the rest of the world in the 21st century,” President Biden said in a statement today. “I applaud Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, Whip Clyburn, and Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson for their leadership in getting this done.”

Conference Process Ahead

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who attempted unsuccessfully last year to attach USICA as an amendment to the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, looked ahead today to joining the two bills via a conference committee process.

“Congress is now one step closer to delivering big, bold, bipartisan action to boost American jobs and American microchip manufacturing and strengthening supply chains so we can compete with countries across the globe, like China, lower costs for American families and invest in our future,” Sen. Schumer said in a statement after the bill’s passage.

“I look forward to a bicameral conference process that builds on the broad bipartisan support of the Senate-passed U.S. Innovation and Competition Act to supercharge microchip manufacturing here in America, to fix broken and strained supply chains, and invest in the innovation needed to ensure the critical products of today and tomorrow are made in America,” he continued. “We have no time to waste.”

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The House had previously approved two alternatives to USICA – the NSF for the Future Act and the Department of Energy Science for the Future Act – which were then folded into the America COMPETES Act along with other priorities, such as cryptocurrency regulation, rural STEM education, and cybersecurity literacy.

“I look forward to the House and Senate quickly coming together to find a path forward and putting a bill on my desk as soon as possible for my signature. America can’t afford to wait,” President Biden said.

Industry Reaction

House approval of the COMPETES Act was met with positive reaction from industry, particularly for its funding of CHIPS Act implementation.

“By passing the America COMPETES Act today, the House of Representatives took an important step forward toward fully funding the CHIPS Act and investing in essential technology research and development,” Al Thompson, VP of U.S. Government Relations at Intel, said in a statement to MeriTalk. “Now, we urge both parties in the House and Senate to move quickly to reach an agreement on a final bill for passage.”

The Information Technology Industry Council similarly applauded the effort, with President and CEO Jason Oxman saying the bill will provide a “critical boost to America’s technological leadership, economic competitiveness, and national security. Its prioritization of research and development, entrepreneurship, and science will strengthen the national innovation ecosystem.”

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.