New Mexico’s two national labs could get a funding boost from provisions within a massive technology investment bill making its way through Congress. The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act has been passed by the Senate and will soon be considered by the House. The package was cobbled together by multiple senate committees and would authorize $200 billion in spending, including $52 billion in funding for manufacturing semiconductors, which are used in electronic devices, and other types of research and development programs in the United States. American production of such microelectronics has fallen significantly in the last 30 years, while countries like China have ramped up production and are dominating the industry.
U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján worked to include two amendments in the bill that would benefit New Mexico. One was a $17 billion investment into Department of Energy facilities and national labs. The other would create the Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation, an organization that would “advance collaboration with energy researchers, institutions of higher education, industry and nonprofit and philanthropic organizations to accelerate the commercialization of energy technology.”