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Sen. Tuberville supports repealing sexual harassment, diversity programs in CHIPS Act

Tuberville wants to repeal parts of the CHIPS Act meant to reduce sexual harassment and increase opportunities for underrepresented workers.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville
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In an op-ed published earlier this week in The American Conservative, Tuberville attacked the CHIPS Act for its “woke regulations that have nothing to do with job creation and are causing significant delays.”

Because of all of the requirements for receiving CHIPS Act funding, Tuberville claims, “taxpayers were sold a bag of goods with this $280 billion dollar bill that is doing exactly nothing to boost American production.”

Passed by bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate in 2022, the CHIPS Act was drafted in order to kickstart domestic semiconductor manufacturing. Currently the vast majority of advanced semiconductors are manufactured in Taiwan, which leads those worried about a potential Chinese invasion of the east Asian nation to want to build up more domestic capacity.

In his opinion piece, Tuberville called the Chinese Communist Party “our top adversary” and wrote that America has “to show strength by putting American manufacturing first on the world stage.”

While Tuberville wrote that the CHIPS Act programs are presently at a “screeching halt,” many other analysts on the left and on the right have been saying the CHIPS Act is working, despite all of America’s historic hang-ups about so-called industrial policy.

Chris Miller, author of the book “Chip War” and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote in an April opinion piece for the Financial Times that the CHIPS Act has been “surprisingly successful.” He pointed to a “stunning 15-fold increase in construction of manufacturing facilities for computing and electronics devices.”

Backing up his column with policy and joined by Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, Tuberville introduced the “CHIPS Improvement Act” on Wednesday, a set of targeted repeals he says will “get government out of the way and allow this bill to do what it was designed to do.”

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One program that Sen. Tuberville’s bill would repeal is “Combating Sexual Harassment in Science.”

This section of the CHIPS Act tells the Office of Science and Technology Policy to require reports from recipients of federal funding about any sexual harassment among their personnel. The director of the OSTP is also required to “consider issuing guidelines that require or incent” recipients of funding to publicize and improve their workplace conditions, especially any sex-based and sexual harassment.

Additionally, the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science section lets the National Science Foundation fund research on the “factors contributing to, and consequences of, sex-based and sexual harassment affecting individuals in the STEM workforce.”

Other programs the CHIPS Improvement Act singles out for repeal include:

  • Requirements to prioritize funding programs located in rural, low-income, and socially disadvantaged regions
  • Funding for outreach programs in elementary and middle schools meant to increase participation of women and other underrepresented minorities in STEM
  • Funding for research on climate change and the “food-energy-water system”
  • And several other programs relating to clean energy, encouraging diversity in STEM, and associated oversight of CHIPS Act funding recipients

The CHIPS Improvement Act would also ban federal agencies mandating potential recipients of federal funds:

  • Provide childcare for employees’ children
  • Provide other services for employees
  • Consult with “local labor organizations”
  • Incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility considerations in their hiring, training, and firing
  • Establish plans to “hire, train, and retain a diverse workforce”
  • And institute any of several other policies regarding environmental concerns, community impact, and workforce management

While Tuberville’s bill is also sponsored by Mike Lee and Senator Pete Ricketts, R-Nebraska, it will not pass this session with a Democratic majority in the Senate. However, Tuberville may reintroduce it if Republicans take back the Senate in November.

Chance Phillips is a reporting intern at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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