BUFFALO, N.Y. — The U.S. Senate plans to vote on the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act Tuesday, a $250 billion plan for the country to make gains in the high-tech manufacturing industry, particularly production of semiconductor chips used in a broad array of electronics.
“We do most of the research but we only do 12% of the manufacturing now, and if we do nothing, it will be 6% in a few years,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
The legislation, which has bipartisan support in the Senate, includes funding to invest in domestic manufacturing semi-conductors and other critical tech, research and development and workforce training, and a provision to establish 10 regional technology hubs.
“Whichever nation develops and manufactures new technologies first, whether it’s a democratic country like ours or an authoritarian country like China, they will set the terms of the uses of these technologies and capture huge benefits like millions of high-tech jobs, good-paying jobs,” Schumer said.
Schumer, who is sponsoring the bill, believes Western New York, including the Greater Buffalo and Rochester areas, should be one of 10 regions the commerce secretary selects as one of the regional hubs, receiving a portion of $10 billion carved out in the act to establish them.
“I am going to use my clout as majority leader to make Western New York one of those 10 hubs,” he said.
Schumer said the area’s existing infrastructure, including M&T Bank’s new downtown Buffalo tech hub, where he held the press conference, the medical corridor, the tech innovation center at the University at Buffalo, and the 43North start-up incubator are among the reasons it should win on merit.
Buffalo Niagara Partnership President and CEO Dottie Gallagher said the regional chamber of commerce, along with the Greater Rochester Chamber and others, have already begun preparing the pitch.
“This is our opportunity, and I think really could be a huge difference maker for a community like Western New York as opposed to the Silicon Valley,” she said. “This will really change our community and the face of our community for years to come.”
Schumer said the legislation would benefit the region in other ways, including the potential for increased funding for UB and the opportunity to attract semiconductor manufacturing facilities to Batavia’s STAMP business park.