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Biden Admin To Distribute $50 Billion Chips Fund Based On Race And Gender

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The Commerce Department announced plans to prioritize “underrepresented” business owners, including women and racial minorities, when distributing $50 billion in federal funding for the semiconductor industry provided by the recent CHIPS act.

The move, which designates “underrepresented” business owners as those who are racial minorities, women, veterans or located in rural areas, is part of a broader strategy to “leverage collaborations to build out semiconductor ecosystems,” and “create inclusive and broadly shared opportunities for business,” according to the Commerce Department’s strategy report. Establishing a “resilient” domestic supply chain is “critical” to both the military and economic goals of the U.S., particularly by freeing the U.S. from reliance on an increasingly hostile China, according to the Commerce Department. (RELATED: Nancy Pelosi’s Husband Still Owns Huge Stake In Chip Stocks, Records Show)

“The legislation authorizes investments to expand the geographic and institutional diversity of research institutions and the students and researchers they serve, including new initiatives to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving institutions, and other academic institutions providing opportunities to historically-underserved students and communities, primarily through the National Science Foundation (NSF),” according to a White House fact sheet.

Companies will also need to demonstrate the “spillover benefits” they would provide to their community, such as housing, environmental, training programs and partnerships with other organizations and states to build “regional ecosystems,” according to the Commerce Department. Proposals to acquire funding must also support “workforce training” programs that train workers for jobs that are either unionized or offer wages higher than the local prevailing wage in order to be prioritized, the Commerce Department stated.

Proposals will also be preferred if they include “targeted” outreach to “women, people of color, workers in rural areas, and veterans,” according to the Commerce Department. This outreach could include a variety of support packages, including child care, language support, training, transportation, and high-speed internet.

The Commerce Department believes that incentives and programs of this nature are “key” to secure talent in the semiconductor industry.

The Commerce Department also noted that guardrails were in place to “maximize public benefits,” forbidding the use of the funds for stock buybacks or other shareholder benefits. Those who wished to receive federal funding were required to show evidence of “significant” investments in workforces and communities, “including programs to expand opportunity for economically disadvantaged individuals.”

Approximately $28 billion in funding was allocated for development of cutting-edge chips with national security implications, $10 billion to expand production of more typical chips, while $11 billion was allocated for research and development, the Commerce Department stated.

“We’re going to run a serious, competitive, transparent process,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said, according to The New York Times. “We are negotiating for every nickel of taxpayer money.”

The Department of Commerce did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.

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