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The Editors

New Chips Act Could Become a $280 Billion Boondoggle

Without added reforms and careful oversight, Congress’s gift to the semiconductor industry could make things worse.

Everybody calm down.

Everybody calm down.

Photographer: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times

After 18 months and innumerable permutations, the Chips and Science Act has finally landed with a $280 billion thud on President Joe Biden’s desk. It’s fair to call it a mixed bag.

Some aspects of the bill should be uncontroversial. Its proposal to boost funding for the National Science Foundation by $81 billion is overdue, for instance, as is a reorganization of the agency to focus more on technology. Both provisions should help lay the groundwork for growth and innovation.