The hopes for upstate New York becoming an epicenter of semiconductor manufacturing for the country are sky high following the approval of the CHIPS Act this week by President Joe Biden. 

The high-tech sector in parts of Central New York and the Capital Region have had the groundwork laid for the last several decades as the U.S. seeks to boost its chip production in order to become more competitive with the rest of the world. 

"If you're in a place as a country or as an economy when you are down to 12% or so of the manufacturing that's done worldwide, that puts you in a vulnerable place," said Acting SUNY Poly President Tod Laursen. 

Laursen was among the upstate higher education and business leaders who gathered Wednesday with U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko to tout the future of chip manufacturing in upstate New York. 

"I think it tells you the data are pretty compelling, whether you're a Democrat, a Republican whatever," Laursen said. 

The bipartisan approval for the CHIPS Act was rare in a highly polarized Congress and comes amid a flurry of legislative activity in Washington. A major domestic spending bill that will include money to combat climate change as well as a provision to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices is also expected to be finalized in the coming days. 

"All of this translates into American jobs, a stronger American economy and getting things done — which the American public likes to see," Tonko said.

Decades ago, New York officials, including Republican Gov. George Pataki, encouraged the development of SUNY Poly in Albany as well as what became GlobalFoundries in Saratoga County. Central New York has also seen an influx of semiconductor facilities.

An effort backed by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is also underway to make Albany Nanotech the national hub for the Semiconductor Technology Center.  

Investments in these areas has helped parts of upstate New York amid a struggle to grow jobs and retain its population. Pataki this week pointed to efforts in the early 2000s to bring and incentivize GlobalFoundries. 

"Getting rid of those impediments to allow the chip industry to grow I think is the right thing," Pataki said, "and I just hope New York, which is better situated than any state in the country, is able to take advantage of that."

But not all Republicans agree. U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, the party's nominee for governor, voted against the legislation. Hours before the vote, he expressed concern with the price tag, blaming last-minute changes to the meausure. 

"As a consequence of this deal over in the Senate it has massively increased and I have concerns about that," he said during a news conference last month.