December 16, 2016 – The U.S. House of Representatives today followed the U.S. Senate’s action and approved the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, a bicameral, bipartisan legislative compromise originally introduced by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI), along with John Thune (R-SD), and Bill Nelson (D-FL), that maximizes basic research opportunities, reduces administrative burdens for researchers, encourages scientific entrepreneurship, and promotes oversight of taxpayer-funded research.
“The House’s passage of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act is a major step forward for the science and research community, and I thank Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Johnson for working in good faith with the Senate to achieve this success,” said Gardner. “We’ve worked for more than 18 months with the scientific community, industry, universities, and other interested stakeholders to craft a bill that reflects the needs of America’s science and technology enterprise and I will continue to work to ensure their needs are addressed in Congress. The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act has made science bipartisan again, and I look forward to the President signing this legislation into law and helping to keep America competitive across the globe.”
The House was able to take up and pass the legislation by unanimous consent today after the Senate approved it during its last legislative day of the 114th Congress.
“Sending this bill to the White House is an overtime victory for science in the closing days of 2016,” said Thune. “This bill only passed the Senate in the early morning hours of Saturday after the House had already finished its business. It looked like the clock had run out, but the bipartisan team of House and Senate supporters behind this bill kept pushing. I especially appreciate House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for making House passage possible.”
The bill encourages scientific entrepreneurship, maximizes research opportunities, reduces administrative burdens for researchers, and promotes oversight of taxpayer-funded research. It also enhances diversity in STEM fields, private-sector innovation, and manufacturing.
“Cutting-edge innovation and scientific research drive our economy forward by supporting new advances in manufacturing, creating new jobs and promoting our nation’s competitiveness,” said Senator Peters, Ranking Member of the Space, Science and Competitiveness Subcommittee. “I am pleased that the House passed this bipartisan legislation that maximizes federal investments in basic science research, strengthens STEM education programs to build a skilled workforce and supports services that make small and medium-sized manufacturers globally competitive. I was honored to work with Senator Gardner to craft this legislation to help America stay ahead of the curve in our increasingly competitive world.”
Beginning in July 2015, Sens. Thune and Nelson selected Sens. Gardner and Peters to lead the Committee’s innovation and competitiveness working group that examined a path forward for updates to federal science and technology research policy. Science and technology leaders provided input to the working group for the development of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act. The bill updates policies at the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, among other federal science agencies.
This legislation marks the first major update to federal research and technology policy to originate in the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in more than a decade.