The CHIPS and Science Act, which President Biden signed into law in August, represents an “inflection point” in the federal government’s approach to funding high-tech manufacturing and cutting-edge scientific research.

The law--over one-thousand pages long--is the product of years of negotiation between House and Senate Democrats and Republicans and the Executive Branch. The goals of its drafters were ambitious and wide-ranging, and include:

  • Securing the manufacturing supply chain against future disruptions and geopolitical risks;
  • Reasserting American leadership in high-tech manufacturing, especially in the production of semiconductor devices;
  • Protecting national security by out-competing China in the race to develop cutting-age technology in the areas of artificial intelligence, quantum computing, communication systems, and biotechnology;
  • Accelerating the development of clean energy technologies to mitigate the climate crisis; and
  • Developing a strong and diverse STEM workforce and creating new high-paying jobs throughout the United States.

While most lawmakers generally support these overarching goals, each lawmaker values them differently. Largely for this reason, the enactment of the law is a testament to its authors’ persistence in crafting meaningful policy in the face of innumerable challenges and objections -- as evidenced by the law’s lengthy and convoluted legislative history.

This six-session series, outlined in detail below, will explore the origins of the legislation, focusing on the competing policy priorities its authors sought to advance. It will explore the history of the legislation in detail, with several of the sessions featuring live discussions with congressional policy staffers who played a key role in crafting and advancing the legislation.

After taking a deeper dive into the technologies the law is intended to bolster and examining how the new law is intended to advance the United States’ leadership in each area, the series will conclude with an assessment of the long-term impact of the law and a discussion of possible actions that future congresses may consider taking to advance American leadership in high-tech manufacturing and scientific research.

Outline of Sessions

Session 1: Origins and Significance of the Law 
October 6, 2022

  • During this session, we will examine the United States’ burgeoning rivalry with China for technological supremacy and discuss China’s publicly announced plans to lead the world in the development of advanced technologies and build a homegrown semiconductor device manufacturing industry.
  • Recognizing that much of this technology is dual use (having both commercial and military applications), we will explore the significance of the U.S.- China technological rivalry from the perspective of national security and discuss how national security considerations helped drive Congress’s bipartisan support for the legislation.
  • We will review the effect that the coronavirus pandemic had on manufacturing supply chains and explore the ways in which lawmakers’ longstanding goals to revitalize domestic manufacturing and develop clean energy sources provided further impetus to pass the legislation.

Session 2: Path to Enactment Part 1: The CHIPS for America Act
October 13, 2022

  • During this session, we will examine the legislative history of the CHIPS Act of 2022 – beginning with the introduction of the CHIPS for America Act and related legislation in both the Senate and the House, the enactment of authorization language in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, and the ultimate funding of the program in the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.

Session 3: Path to Enactment Part 2: The “Science” components of the Law
October 20, 2022

  • During this session, we will examine the legislative history of all the remaining “Science” components of the CHIPS and Science Act – beginning with the introduction of the Endless Frontier Act in both the Senate and the House, the passage of the United States Innovation and Competition Act in the Senate and the America COMPETES Act in the House, the formation and abandonment of a formal conference process, and the eventual passage of major components of each bill as part of the CHIPS and Science Act.

Session 4: A Deeper Dive into Technology, Part 1
October 27, 2022

  • During this session, we will examine recent trends in semiconductor device manufacturing, focusing on the declining global share of device manufacturing in the United States and the ways in which the new law is intended to counteract these trends.
  • We will also review trends in the manufacturing of clean energy technologies, biotechnology, and the development of advanced communications technology.

Session 5: A Deeper Dive into Technology, Part 2
November 3, 2022

  • During this session, we will examine recent trends in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing.
  • Recognizing that China is widely viewed as holding the upper hand in the race to develop artificial intelligence, we will discuss whether the funding and incentives in the CHIPS and Science Act can be expected to help the U.S. outpace China in the development of AI.
  • We will also explore constraints on the development of AI grounded in ethical considerations (such as the need to maintain user privacy) and discuss whether the United States’ greater willingness to adhere to these constraints makes it more difficult to compete with China in developing cutting-edge AI systems.

Session 6: Assessing the Long-Term Impact of the Law and Examining Possible Next Steps
November 10, 2022

  • During the final session, we will consider the likely impact of the new law in the years to come and consider possibilities that future congresses may consider taking to advance American leadership in science and technology.

Doug Calidas, Chief of Staff to US Senator Amy Klobuchar

Doug Calidas serves as Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. As Chief of Staff, Doug manages a team of approximately 50 staffers and serves as the Senator’s top strategist for policy initiatives, media relations, and constituent services.

Prior to becoming Chief of Staff, Doug worked as Senator Klobuchar’s Legislative Director, having previously served as her Deputy Legislative Director and Senior Economic Advisor. Before joining Senator Klobuchar’s office, Dougserved as Chief Counsel for Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Doug made his start in the Senate working as a Fellow for the Senate Finance Committee under Ranking Member Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Prior to working in the Senate, Doug worked as an attorney in private practice, including six years as an Associate at Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, D.C. Doug attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School as an undergraduate and received his J.D. from Duke University School of Law. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife Katie and their four young children.

What are the goals of this study group?

The goal of this study group is to gain a deeper understanding of the policymaking process in Congress, especially as it pertains to development of policy relating to science and technology. Participants should also develop a closer appreciation of the burgeoning rivalry between the United States and China and the way in which leaders in both nations view the battle for leadership in the development of technological leadership as a major determinant of the outcome of the rivalry. 

Are there any prerequisites or requirments? 

No, there are no prerequisites. However, you must be a Harvard affiliate (student, fellow, staff, or faculty) to register.

What if I am unable to attend all 6 sessions -  can I still register for this study group?

We encourage attendees to attend all six sessions since the content builds over each session. However, if you have a conflict, please email the instructor prior to with your reason.