WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement after a meeting the House of Representatives passed the CHIPS and Science Act:
“Today, Progressives voted to pass the CHIPS and Science Act thanks to Secretary Raimondo’s partnership and transparency with our caucus throughout the legislative process. Over the past week, I engaged in deep and frequent negotiations and conversations with the Secretary to work to address our members’ concerns that this bill would expand domestic manufacturing capacity — and not be utilized as a subsidy for companies to engage in stock buybacks and dividend payouts to enrich wealthy shareholders and executives. As the Secretary made clear this week, ‘This CHIPS money is not a subsidy for companies to make them more profitable or so they have more cash for stock buybacks or to pad their bottom line or to invest in other countries.’
“In addition to the funding for semiconductors, which power everything from innovative technology to our phones and household appliances, this bill will also double the funding for the National Science Foundation, an investment that will make a tremendous difference for universities and research institutions across the country. I would like to thank the Secretary for her principled engagement with me to resolve our members' concerns, and to ensure the strongest implementation of this bill. With Secretary Raimondo’s commitment and continued partnership, we look forward to working together throughout the implementation process.”
As a result of these negotiations, the Commerce Department issued language clarifying the taxpayer protections it plans to institute as part of its implementation of the bill. Those protections include "Prioritizing selecting companies that are committed to investments in manufacturing, innovation, and workers...In selecting projects, the Department will give preference in awards to companies who commit to make future investments that grow the domestic semiconductor industry (such as through research and development, workforce training, or manufacturing investments) and not engage in stock buybacks."
The guidance continues, emphasizing that the Department will be "Strictly monitoring the use of funds to ensure companies are delivering on their promises and not abusing taxpayer resources. The CHIPS incentives are not a subsidy for companies to make them more profitable or enable them to have more cash for stock buybacks or to pad their bottom line...This includes strictly enforcing many important guardrails in the CHIPS Act—which cover appropriate uses of government funds, project delays, IP transactions that raise national security concerns, and investments in foreign countries of concern...The Department will not hesitate to clawback funds or pursue other remedies if companies misuse taxpayer dollars."
The language makes clear that "the Department will seek to make awards to applicants who demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to this vision."