U.S. picks team to oversee $52.7 billion in semiconductor funding

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo speaks about semiconductor chips subsidies during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 6, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - The Biden administration on Tuesday named a team of senior advisers to oversee $52.7 billion in government funding to boost semiconductor manufacturing and research.

Commerce Department chief economist Aaron "Ronnie" Chatterji will serve as White House Coordinator for CHIPS Implementation at the National Economic Council (NEC) and will manage the work of the CHIPS Implementation Steering Council created by President Biden's chips executive order signed last month.

In August, Congress approved $52.7 billion for semiconductor manufacturing and research and a 25% investment tax credit for chip plants that is estimated to be worth $24 billion.

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NEC Director Brian Deese said Chatterji "will help coordinate a unified approach to our key implementation priorities while ensuring that we have guardrails and oversight in place to responsibly spend taxpayer dollars."

The legislation championed by Biden aims to boost efforts to make the United States more competitive with China and alleviate a persistent chips shortage that has affected everything from cars to washing machines to video games and weapons.

At Commerce, Treasury official Michael Schmidt will serve as CHIPS Program Office director. Schmidt previously served as New York State Department of Taxation and Finance commissioner.

Eric Lin, director of the government's Material Measurement Laboratory, will be interim director of the CHIPS Research and Development Office. The chips law includes $11 billion for research spending.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the chips team would consist of about 50 people.

"These leaders bring decades of experience in government, industry and the R&D space, with a special emphasis on standing up and implementing large-scale programs," Raimondo said.

Also named Tuesday is Todd Fisher, a Commerce Department economic official who will serve as CHIPS Program office interim senior advisor in the CHIPS Program Office. Former Palm Computing CEO Donna Dubinsky is Raimondo's senior counselor for CHIPS implementation and Commerce official J.D. Grom will serve as senior advisor on CHIPS implementation.

Commerce hopes by February to begin seeking applications for $39 billion in semiconductor chips subsidies to build new facilities and expand existing U.S. production.

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Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Bradley Perrett

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