Press Release

Welch Stresses the Importance of Supporting Semiconductors and Sustainable Technology Development in Rural States During Senate Commerce Hearing 

Oct 6, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a Senate Commerce Committee hearing with Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo this week, Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT) stressed the importance of building on the successes of the CHIPS and Science Act by continuing to incentivize the development and manufacturing of semiconductor technology in Vermont and across the United States.  Senator Welch pressed Secretary Raimondo on the progress the Department is making to accelerate opportunities for rural states to build out their regional tech hub programs and continue to support semiconductor innovation.  

“Secretary Raimondo, first of all, I think you’re doing a great job, and we’re excited in Vermont about the CHIPS Act…We have real production of gallium nitrate chips printed on silicon chips, and that’s a new technology that is providing greater power. GlobalFoundries, which is a very large company in Vermont, is a leader in this. I want to give you an opportunity to explain what the Department is doing to continue to incentivize the development and manufacture of mature, legacy node semiconductor technology,” said Sen. Welch during the hearing. 

In response, Secretary Raimondo emphasized that Congress appropriated $2 billion to incentivize the development of mature, legacy node semiconductor technologies at the Department of Commerce and the Department plans on investing more than the appropriated amount into this critical technology.  

Regarding the regional tech hub program, Senator Welch asked: “Another question of real interest to us in Vermont are the Regional Tech Hubs Program, that of course, as you know, was part of CHIPS and Science. We’ve got applicants–Is there a commitment from the EDA and the Department of Commerce to follow the requirements in that program around rural states? And Vermont would be among them.”  In response, Secretary Raimondo confirmed that the Commerce Department plans to follow these requirements for rural and small states.   

Senator Welch also highlighted the need to use CHIPS and Science Act authorizations to support clean energy innovations from the development phase through the commercialization phase to help reach our climate goals. He also concluded his time by highlighting the issues Vermont’s Communications Union Districts currently face within the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Earlier this summer, Vermont received a $229 million allocation through the BEAD Program. 

Senator Welch is a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, & Technology Committee. 

A video of Sen. Welch’s remarks can found here.

To watch the full hearing, click here