June 23, 2016 – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI), leaders of the Commerce Committee’s innovation and competitiveness working group on federal science and technology research policies, along with Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) who serve respectively as the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, introduced S. 3084, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act.
“Our country is at its best when the entrepreneurial spirit has the ability to thrive and Americans have the tools they need to succeed,” said Gardner. “In order for America to remain competitive, it’s essential that we efficiently and effectively invest in research so that our country’s brightest minds can create and develop. It’s also critical that we expand educational opportunities and recognize the importance of equipping the next generation of leaders with STEM skills so that America not only keeps pace with the rest of the world, but remains the leading innovator.
The bipartisan bill maximizes basic research by reducing administrative burdens for researchers, enhancing agency oversight, improving research dissemination, and reforming federal science agencies to increase the impact of taxpayer-funded research.
Last July, Senators Gardner and Peters kicked off efforts to build a consensus for federal research policies. Their competitiveness working group met with research community stakeholders and collected hundreds of online submissions and comments to inform the group’s work.
“I was proud to lead multiple roundtables and working groups and gather crucial feedback from the science, education, and business communities in order to develop comprehensive science and technology policy that will strengthen our economy and create good-paying jobs,” said Gardner.
In May, the Commerce Committee held a formal hearing with research community witnesses who praised the committee for its efforts to build a bipartisan consensus.
“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,” said former National Science Board official Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier in hearing testimony.
S. 3084 most directly affects programs within the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
“The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act gives new direction to maximize returns on federal research,” said Thune. “Sen. Gardner and Sen. Peters rolled up their sleeves to gather necessary input for a pro-science, pro-taxpayer bill. I’m pleased the committee will soon have an opportunity to consider this important legislation.”
S. 3084 will be considered by the Commerce Committee at a markup scheduled for June 29, 2016, at 10:00 a.m.
“This legislation is a positive step toward keeping America competitive, and I look forward to a full and open debate,” said Gardner.
Click here for the text of S. 3084 as introduced.