Already under fire over his stance on Israel, Bowman’s claim on landmark law called into question

Rep. Jamaal Bowman has said publicly that he “co-wrote” one of President Biden’s biggest recent accomplishments, the CHIPS and Science Act, but critics are now countering his claim is, at best, a stretch.

The law, which Biden signed off on in 2022, put approximately $280 billion toward research and manufacturing in the semiconductor industry. The text of the legislation is more than 150,000 words long.

Bowman’s claims around the legislation are now the subject of scrutiny amid a hotly contested primary battle with Westchester County Executive George Latimer — a race that’s evolved into a sort of proxy battle over Israel’s war against Hamas. Voters go to the polls on June 25.

Latimer, a moderate Democrat, has largely backed Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks that led to the war, while Bowman has emerged as a vocal critic, focused primarily on the significant death toll in Gaza.

Bowman, a progressive, has aligned himself with the more moderate Biden in other areas, though. The CHIPS law is one example, but Bowman’s claim that he “co-wrote” the bill is now being cast as an “exaggeration” by critics.

HARRISON, NEW YORK - JULY 25: George Latimer speaks as Daybase opens its first hybrid work location in Westchester on July 25, 2022 in Harrison, New York. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Daybase)
George Latimer speaks as Daybase opens its first hybrid work location in Westchester on July 25, 2022 in Harrison, New York. (Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Daybase)

Prior to the president’s sign off on CHIPS, a separate, much smaller piece of legislation from Bowman was folded into it. That bill, the Empowering STEM Discovery Act, was aimed at waiving cost-sharing requirements associated with science-related fellowships. It was just shy of 200 words long.

Another Bowman bill, Research Excellence through STEM Inclusion Act, was also incorporated into CHIPS. That bill is about 450 words long.

The legislation Bowman has claimed he co-authored is Biden’s much larger bill that was enacted into law. At various times, Bowman has said the law included two, five or six of his amendments. But that isn’t entirely accurate. A review of the CHIPS and Science Act shows that, in actuality, only two pieces of legislation sponsored by Bowman made its way into the law Biden ultimately approved.

“If he had any common sense, he would just say, ‘I’m a contributor to the bill,” said Richard Flanagan, a CUNY political science professor. “It’s an exaggeration.”

Bowman, a member of the left-of-center Squad, has been battling with Latimer to hold onto his Congressional seat for months now.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (Nathan Howard/AP)
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (Nathan Howard/AP)

So far, the race has been punctuated heavily with debate over the merits of Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks.

The contest itself — and that dynamic specifically — has forced Bowman to point out what he presumably views as his accomplishments and attempt to hew to the political middle on other issues.

Aside from the CHIPS Act, another way Bowman has attempted to do this is through his touting of Biden’s infrastructure law — which he voted against.

Michael Gerald, a former Bowman rival who dropped his primary run and now backs Laitmer, has criticized such tactics, claiming that “he’s desperately making stuff up” in the face of a competitive primary challenge.

“Congressman Bowman has already been caught breaking his promise not to take money from lobbyists, stealing credit for President Biden’s infrastructure law after he joined Republicans in voting against it, and his claim of bringing back ‘$1 billion’ to the district has been completely debunked,” Gerald, a pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church in Tuckahoe, told the Daily News recently.

“Now he’s telling people he ‘co-wrote’ another signature Biden achievement when he contributed a couple dozen words in a 158,000-word bill. Bowman has no real accomplishments.”

Then-State Sen. George Latimer seen in 2014. (Mike Groll/AP)
Then-State Sen. George Latimer seen in 2014. (Mike Groll/AP)

Bowman claimed in February that he “coauthored” the CHIPS Act. In a video posted online in April, he claimed his team “co-wrote one of the president’s largest pieces of legislation, the CHIPS and Science Act, which is gonna bring back thousands of jobs to our district.”

Earlier, in July 2022, he claimed the legislation contained “6 of my amendments.” The following August, he put that number at five. More recently in December 2023, Bowman lowered it to two.

When asked about this, Bowman’s team pointed to three amendments that were included in the final legislation and said Bowman “had a direct role in shaping much of the language and pushing for his priorities like the regional and technology hubs program, as well as provisions for equity in microelectronics research and nuclear research.”

“Two of his introduced bills were introduced in the final text, as well many amendments that were included in the markup process and language and priorities that he pushed for behind the scenes,” Bowman’s campaign manager Gabe Tobias said. “The Congressman’s role in this cannot be understated.”

More generally, Bowman has also attempted to counter incoming criticism by making the argument that Latimer is “bought and paid for by AIPAC,” a pro-Israel lobbying group that’s poured about $10 million into the race so far.

Marshall Wittmann, an AIPAC spokesman, derided that rhetoric.

“Rep. Bowman’s scurrilous and shameful attacks won’t hide his record of aligning with the extremist, anti-Israel fringe,” Wittmann said.

Latimer has responded that, in addition to being endorsed by AIPAC, he also has the support of several unions, telling Politico that “they don’t own me and AIPAC does not own me.”

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