Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Todd Young (R-IN), and Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) recently unveiled the bipartisan, bicameral Endless Frontier Act, an initiative to solidify the United States’ leadership in scientific and technological innovation through increased investments in the discovery, creation, and commercialization of technology fields of the future. The bipartisan legislation further targets support to ensure new research investments translate into new American companies, manufacturing and high-tech jobs, and opportunities for regions across the country to become global centers of emerging technology industries.
The coronavirus pandemic, in many ways, caught the United States inadequately prepared, and exposed the consequences of our long-term failure to sufficiently invest in scientific research. China and others are stealing American intellectual property and aggressively investing in research and commercialization to dominate the known technology fields of the future. The Members of Congress emphasize that without a significant and sustained increase in investment in research, education and training, technology transfer and entrepreneurship, manufacturing, and the broader U.S. innovation ecosystem across the nation, it is only a matter of time before America’s global competitors overtake the U.S. in terms of technological primacy.
“To win the 21st century, we need to invest in the technologies of the future,” said Rep. Ro Khanna. “That means increasing public funding into those sectors of our economy that will drive innovation and create new jobs. Particularly at a moment when so many folks are in need of stable employment, Congress should do everything in our power to develop sustainable industries across our country that will be here to stay, or else risk losing our competitive edge to China.”
“The coronavirus pandemic has shown the science and technology gap between the United States and the rest of the world is closing fast and that threatens our long-term health, economic competitiveness, and national security,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer. “America cannot afford to continue our decades-long underinvestment and expect to lead the world in advanced scientific and technological research. To ensure our advantage, our bill treats scientific research as a national security priority and provides substantial new investments into funding critical research and development to build the industries of the future in regions across the country.”
“The spread of the coronavirus from China to the rest of the world has heightened the public’s awareness of the deep connections and serious vulnerabilities that shape our lives in the 21st century,” said Sen. Todd Young. “By virtue of being the first to emerge on the other side of this pandemic, the Chinese Communist Party is working hard to use the crisis to its advantage by extending influence over the global economy. Instead of allowing Beijing to threaten our values and interests, now is the time for America and our allies to invest in ourselves and give the world a clear alternative. America’s history is filled with bold initiatives and calculated investments that have harnessed America’s ability to collaborate across the public and private sectors. As America emerges from this crisis, we must not be content with merely recovering our losses. Instead, we must position ourselves to lead and the Endless Frontier Act is the way to do it.”
“In recent years, the United States has taken important steps to slow the transfer of critical technologies to the Chinese Communist Party,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher. “But in order to ensure the CCP does not gain technological superiority in the future, we also need make proactive investments in strategic technologies central to the competition. The Endless Frontiers Act is a downpayment for future generations of American technological leadership, and I'm proud to introduce it on a bipartisan basis.” The Endless Frontier Act proposes an expansion of the National Science Foundation (NSF)—to be renamed the National Science and Technology Foundation (NTSF)—and the establishment of a Technology Directorate within NTSF to advance technology in 10 critical focus areas.
The Endless Frontier Act proposes an expansion of the National Science Foundation (NSF)—to be renamed the National Science and Technology Foundation (NTSF)—and the establishment of a Technology Directorate within NTSF to advance technology in 10 critical focus areas.
The newly-established Technology Directorate would receive $100 billion over five years to lead investment and research in artificial intelligence and machine learning; high performance computing; robotics, automation, and advanced manufacturing; and more. An additional $10 billion would be authorized to designate at least 10 regional technology hubs, awarding funds for comprehensive investment initiatives that position regions across the country to be global centers for the research, development, and manufacturing of key technologies.