A newly released report by a non-partisan research arm of Congress underscores how semiconductors’ economic and military importance has made the industry’s health a focus of congressional interest for nearly 70 years. The report, produced by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), details how the federal government played a key role in the creation and support of the U.S. semiconductor industry since World War II, including the co-funding of SEMATECH in the 1980s, as well as support for a wide array of semiconductor research activities. The report also notes Congress’s establishment in July 2015 of the Semiconductor Caucus, a congressional group that seeks to advance policies that support the U.S. semiconductor industry and our economy.
The report includes useful information on semiconductor industry basics and highlights industry issues of current congressional interest. Such issues include maintaining a strong domestic semiconductor industry with high-value semiconductor manufacturing supported by a strong and talented domestic workforce. The report also details the state of global competition and, in particular, the role foreign governments are playing in supporting the growth of their domestic semiconductor industries, especially in China and the EU.
The report further underscores U.S. industry’s priority in maintaining free and open global markets, including congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and negotiations to conclude the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Additionally, the report explains the long-held view that maintaining advanced domestic manufacturing capabilities is critical to U.S. national security.
CRS is a public policy research arm of Congress. It works primarily and directly for Members of Congress and their Committees and staff on a nonpartisan basis. CRS reports have a strong reputation for their accuracy and objectivity. Co-chairs of the Semiconductor Caucus last week sent a letter to their colleagues in Congress alerting them to the report and summarizing its key findings.