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Everyone in Washington Wants CHIPS Law Bite

But the new law also attracted a large number of lobbyists representing a wide range of industries. Some of you may be looking to hit the jackpot. Snap lobbyists, for example, plan to ask Washington to subsidize a plan to manufacture chips for augmented reality (AR) glasses. Also, filing a lobbying disclosure does not necessarily mean that the company will ask for money.

Still, the sheer amount of filings left companies free to pay when Washington opened up the checks, especially early in the game, when just a few dollars in lobbying fees could reap serious rewards down the road. It shows that you can participate.

“It’s a low-risk, high-return operation,” said Scott Linthicum, director of general economics at the libertarian Kate Institute. “Not asking for that cash is almost corporate fraud.”

Lincicome pointed to a wide range of organizations that can apply for funding under CHIPS and scientific law.

Josh Teitelbaum, a lobbyist at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, said the lobbying frenzy was justified, saying that the ecosystem surrounding the US chip industry “has only a handful of companies actually manufacturing. It’s much wider than that,” he said.

Teitelbaum Lobbying for CHIPS and Science Dollars instead of snapdevelops and manufactures glasses equipped with AR technology, in addition to operating the popular SNS app Snapchat. According to Snap spokesman Peter Bugard, the company hopes to convince the Department of Commerce to send subsidies so it can build in-state “state-of-the-art semiconductor processing components” used in AR products. There is

Teitelbaum suggests that Snap isn’t the only unexpected company eyeing CHIPS and science funding. “You might not necessarily expect it to be there, but you could see some companies and industries considering it,” Teitelbaum said. “But all of this is just an indication of how implanted chips fit into our daily lives.”

In addition to tens of billions of dollars in direct grants, the CHIPS and Science Act will ultimately allocate about $200 billion to federal research agencies such as the National Science Foundation. This money is another big draw for lobbyists. Much of that still needs to be appropriated by Congress, and Mr. Linthicombe said, “There will probably be a lot of people lobbying to make sure that the actual appropriation happens.” .

The XR Association, a group representing the industry of augmented and virtual reality, successfully campaigned to target “immersive technology” for research and development funding from CHIPS and Science. The XR association is legal lobbying in the Last month of 2022 — and Miranda Lutz, the group’s public policy director, is now pressuring Capitol Hill to fund these programs.

“Obviously, we want full NSF funding. [the National Institute of Standards and Technology] There are also several other agencies that monitor funding that could flow into XR R&D,” said Lutz.

Big player

Snap and the XR Association are open about their plans for CHIPS and Science, which is not the case with most organizations lobbying for legislation.

The split funding opportunity of hundreds of billions of dollars in microchip grants and hundreds of billions of dollars in scientific agency approvals does more than just force lobbyists to track two different funding streams. It also makes it easier for companies lobbying under the law to hide whether they are interested in direct subsidies or the benefits brought by increased R&D budgets. increase.

Despite diverse business models, in the last three months of 2022, the top five US tech companies (Meta, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple) have all lobbied for CHIPS and Science implementations. I was.

Of the five companies, only Meta said it had “no plans” to ask Commerce for microchip subsidies. Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said the company: paid lobbyist It helps us understand “the impact of legislation on our device manufacturing.”

Microsoft spokesperson Kate Frishman paid another Lobbying companies Working on CHIPS — the company said it was simply “monitoring” its implementation (the law allocates $1.5 billion for next-generation wireless technology, mentioned in one of Microsoft’s filings) . Google spokesperson Jose Castañeda said the company backed CHIPS and Science ahead of their passage last summer, but declined to provide an explanation for Google. subsequent interest in the enforcement of laws;

Spokesperson for Amazon and Amazon Web Services — both lobbies About the implementation of CHIPS in Last month of 2022 — declined to comment on the company’s strategy (Amazon’s filing mentions “issues related to STEM education, computer science education, and vocational training”). An Apple spokesperson did not respond to multiple requests for comment about its interest in implementing CHIPS. Company’s fourth quarter filing It mentions “problems related to domestic semiconductor manufacturing” and “information about Apple’s supply chain.”

other big tech companies, including software company sales force and Network giant Cisco Systems, reached out to Washington late last year about CHIPS and science. Salesforce spokesperson Allen Tsai said the company is focusing on legal infrastructure, supply chain and workforce provisions. We have no plans to apply.” A Cisco spokesperson did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

casting call

Big Tech is just a few of the companies and organizations that have lobbied for the implementation of CHIPS and defense contractors like Northrop Grumman and general dynamics I paid lobbyists to work on the law. So did HVAC companies career and tears (Chip manufacturing requires advanced filtration technology and climate control systems, which may explain their interest).

Enforcement of the law is a potential bonanza for a wide range of material suppliers, including coal companies such as: consol energy and the American Coatings Association, representing the paints and coatings industry. “When you think about manufacturing computer chips, you don’t naturally think about giant slabs of high-quality aluminum,” reads. 1 document submitted Aluminum supplier TST Inc. to the Department of Commerce late last year. “But the two are inextricably linked.”

large trade unions, including AFL-CIO and the american telecom workershas been lobbying for the implementation of the seconds Your comment has been submitted The International Sheet Metal, Aviation, Railroad and Transportation Workers Association last November called on the U.S. Department of Commerce to include “strict labor standards” in financial aid to companies.

In a clear victory for the unions, the Department of Commerce announced late last month that it would prioritize construction projects using project collective agreements.

Flocks of Local Government Agencies and Regional Development Groups Los Angeles County Urban Transit Authority To Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and the portland harbor, all lobbied for the implementation of CHIPS and science.So did the governments of some countries — Republic of Korea warned the Department of Commerce We announced late last year that we would not distinguish between US and foreign companies when distributing funds.

top telecom companies like dish network and Lumen Technologies — perhaps attracted by the legislative support for advanced wireless technology — joined. Baxter Healthcareand biotech companies such as Illumina and Novozyme.

Auto companies have been hit hard by the microchip shortages that began early in the pandemic. In the last Congress they decided to lobby his CHIPS and Science to include his $2 billion in subsidies for the production of the less advanced “legacy” chips often found in automobiles. Succeeded. And disclosures show they were still working on it after the bill passed — ford, general motors, Toyota, Nissan, hyundai and Honda All lobbied for legislation in the final quarter of 2022.

Next is university. Higher education institutions have significant financial stakes in CHIPS and scientific law. Especially when it comes to granting hundreds of billions of dollars to federal research agencies.from University of California To MIT, Ohio State University, University of Central Florida, harvard, State University of New York And (many) more than that, universities across the country lobbied for the law’s enforcement.

Even the crypto industry has joined the action. coin baseA company that operates one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, a spokesperson for Coinbase said the company’s primary interest is in helping the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy hire cryptocurrency experts. and a provision directing the NSF to promote research into “distributed ledger technology.”

There are also groups whose lobbying around CHIPS and science defies simple explanations. AIPAC is the chief among them, filing show A top pro-Israel group in Washington lobbied against CHIPS and the implementation of the science late last year, but the group did not respond to repeated requests for comment. shipping giant FedEx, Working with CHIPS and Science In the same time frame, he also did not respond to multiple questions about his interest in the law.

A spokesperson for Audible, the Amazon-owned online audiobook and podcast service, said: Q4 Lobbying activities A study on CHIPS and Science found that legal discretionary spending “includes location-based criteria and funding for funding directed to high-growth start-ups interested in joining Newark’s innovation corridor. (Audible is headquartered in Newark, New Jersey).

Some lobbyists may even be confused about CHIPS and the provisions of scientific law. The law includes his $2.5 billion in “advanced packaging” research investigating how to best combine microchips into a single device for maximum processing power.

It is different from the kind of packaging that the Flexible Packaging Association is interested in. actual Packages made of materials such as paper, plastic, and aluminum foil paid lobbyists to advocate for law enforcement When asked about the apparent discrepancy, FPA president and CEO Allison Keane said the group’s lobbyist “[does] It tracks deeds, but that’s not the CHIPS side of things. ”

It remains to be seen whether the flood of lobbying for CHIPS and Science will end with payments to a wider range of companies than the core microchip and R&D firms. In a conference call with reporters late last month on enforcing the law, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimond called national security “the primary lens by which everything is evaluated.” But Snap and Teitelbaum are unfazed so far.

“Broadly speaking, a national security application is not necessarily required to be eligible for this funding,” Teitelbaum said. Linthicum also highlighted the provisions the Department of Commerce recently added to this funding, including new childcare and labor requirements for companies receiving more than $150 million in subsidies, and the administration’s implied national security considerations. It suggests that you are not as serious as you think you are.

This is good news for companies like Snap. Lincicome also said that if it and several other companies participate, “there will inevitably be links between the lobbying funds and the final disbursement of the grants.”

“This is not corruption,” Linthicum said. “It’s just a squeaky wheel.”

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