January 9, 2017 – President Obama on January 6 signed 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). 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, this legislation maximizes basic research opportunities, reduces administrative burdens for researchers, encourages scientific entrepreneurship, and promotes oversight of taxpayer-funded research. The legislation also promotes diversity in STEM fields, incentivizes private-sector innovation, and boosts manufacturing.
During a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing, Former National Science Board official Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier stated, “This committee has already addressed one of the greatest long-term threats to American innovation: You’ve made science bipartisan again, countering rhetoric that has at times made the research community feel under siege.”
“I’m proud to see the President sign the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act into law today. A strong, bipartisan effort, this legislation is the result of nearly two years of work to gather input from the scientific community, universities, and interested stakeholders,” said Senator Gardner. “I thank Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson, and Senator Peters for their leadership and hard work to not only make science bipartisan again, but ensure that America stays at the forefront of cutting-edge research and development.”
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.
“I’m pleased the President signed into law this important bipartisan bill that will ensure America maintains a competitive edge in the global economy,” said Senator Peters, Ranking Member of the Space, Science and Competitiveness Subcommittee. “Scientific research and innovation are the foundation of a strong economy, and the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act will help leverage federal investments in basic research, strengthen STEM education to train a skilled workforce and support small and medium sized manufacturers to keep our country internationally competitive. I was honored to work with Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson and Senator Gardner to craft this vital legislation that will help our economy continue to grow.”