WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement in response to the Commerce Department’s “Notice of Funding Opportunity” for companies that will receive investments allocated by the CHIPS and Science Act:
“This past summer, the Progressive Caucus worked with the Commerce Department to ensure the CHIPS and Science Act 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. Today, we are very heartened to see the beginning of that commitment put into practice with the Department’s Notice of Funding Opportunity.
“The CHIPS and Science Act was passed with a vision: that smart policy could play a role in rebuilding American domestic manufacturing in a sustainable and just way. We could bring working parents, and especially women, back into the manufacturing workforce. We could deliver a major investment of taxpayer dollars without allowing corporations to artificially inflate their value through stock buybacks. We could build technology our people need in America to bring down costs for consumers and create good-paying union jobs. But the details are always in the implementation and that is why today’s announcement is so important. Secretary Raimondo and the Biden administration are turning that vision into reality, and I am incredibly proud of the key role progressives in Congress played in making it possible.”
“The agency has included a number of taxpayer protections that progressives negotiated directly with the Secretary, including: prohibitions on CHIPS funding being directly used for stock buybacks or dividends; creating a formal preferencing for companies that commit to refrain from making stock buybacks; disbursing the funding to companies on an incremental basis, rather than a lump sum, to allow the funding to be clawed back if it is misused; and a requirement that companies receiving over a certain amount of direct funding repay the U.S. government — and American taxpayers — for the upside. In addition, the Department has made clear they’re committing to building and supporting the workforce needed to make CHIPS, not only companies themselves: creating sector-based partnerships in consultation with labor unions; preferencing for companies with strong apprenticeship programs, including in construction; and child care on-site to support working parents in manufacturing for companies.”
In addition to negotiating these critical taxpayer protections with the Secretary, Rep. Jayapal also hosted a town hall with Secretary Raimondo in the fall with workers on the need for affordable care, including ensuring that there is equity for working parents with the jobs created through CHIPS funding. Rep. Jayapal also led her colleagues in two letters to the Secretary, on the need to protect the CHIPS investments from being used for corporate self-enrichment and stock buybacks, and on the need for companies receiving the funds to provide accessible child care.