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New York leaders eye federal funding for microchip industry

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The Senate is poised to move forward this week with a bill to bolster the domestic semiconductor industry, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announcing a procedural vote for Tuesday.

Elected officials and business leaders in New York have been following the legislation closely because of the potential benefits for the state. The final bill is expected to include more than $50 billion to boost the United States’s microchip industry.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has actively called for its passage, as have members of the state’s congressional delegation.

“This is a very key ingredient to stabilizing, growing, and innovating our economy,” said Albany-area Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko.

The legislation could include funding for a National Semiconductor Technology Center, which New York leaders hope could find a home in the Empire State, bringing with it more than 1,000 jobs.

Earlier this year, Tonko led a bipartisan letter to the U.S. Commerce Secretary, making the case for New York, arguing it would help cement the state’s place in the tech sector.

“The experts in this industry, the leaders in the industry, workforce development, you know, it tends to cluster when you give the signals that you are that center for innovation,” Tonko said in an interview with Spectrum News.

For months now, House and Senate negotiators have haggled over the legislation. Then just recently, the top Republican in the Senate — Mitch McConnell — introduced a new hurdle, threatening to torpedo the bill unless Democrats stop trying to pass a separate spending package.

But now, Congress is poised to move forward on a slimmed down version of the bill, with Schumer teeing up a procedural vote.

Several semiconductor plants are already located in New York, including GlobalFoundries.

In a statement, the company’s managing director of global government affairs said the potential federal funding “would affect the rate and pace at which we invest in expanding our U.S. manufacturing capacity.”

A spokesperson for Empire State Development, which promotes business development in New York, said the state stands to benefit from the funding if Congress approves it.

“Governor Hochul is committed to attracting new domestic fabs to areas of the state that were devastated by the loss of traditional manufacturing as the semiconductor industry would bring thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment,” the organization said.

Meanwhile, the president of NY CREATES, which works to advance the electronics industry in the state, urged Congress to approve the funding.

“In New York, we have the most advanced semiconductor R&D facilities in the country and an ecosystem in place that can hit the ground running to maximize the impact of Federal investments by leveraging partnerships with industry, academia, and government both here and across the nation,” said David Anderson.

Beyond any investments in New York, leaders also frame this bill as critical for America’s own national security, ensuring that the U.S. is not dependent on other countries for critical microchips, which are in everything from cars to household appliances.

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