WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives on Monday passed two bipartisan bills aimed at boosting research and development programs in the United States, setting up a battle with the Senate over how best to invest in scientific innovation. to enhance the competitiveness of the United States.
The bills are the House’s response to the Endless Borders Act, which the Senate overwhelmingly passed this month, which would make unprecedented federal investments in a range of new technologies to compete with China. But lawmakers drafting the House measures took a different approach, calling for a doubling of funding over the next five years for traditional research initiatives at the National Science Foundation and 7% increase for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
The contrast reflects concerns among House lawmakers that the Senate bill places too much and too much emphasis on developing nascent technologies and replicating Beijing’s positive moves. to gain industrial dominance. Instead, the lawmakers argued, the United States should pour more resources into its proven research and development capabilities.
“If we are to remain the world leader in science and technology, we need to act now,” said Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, Democrat of Texas and chair of the Science Committee. hours. “But we should not act hastily. Instead of trying to copy the efforts of our emerging competitors, we should double down on the proven innovation engines we have at the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. . “
Lawmakers and their aides must try to reconcile legislation passed by the Senate with two bills passed Monday, sparking a huge debate on Capitol Hill over industrial policy and how to increase it. strengthen America’s competitiveness, an objective with broad bipartisan support.
Two bills passed 345-67 and 351-68.
“One of the core disagreements or tensions between the version of the House and the Senate is that the version of the Senate really focuses on,” said Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. China. Johnson’s bills, he added, prioritize “more social policy issues”, including science, technology, engineering and math education and climate change.
The House bills omit several provisions that are central to the Senate legislation, including $52 billion in emergency subsidies for semiconductor manufacturers and a range of trade provisions. Instead of creating regional tech hubs around the country, as the Senate measure would do, one of the House bills would create a designated board of directors for “scientific solutions.” and engineering” in the National Science Foundation.
While picking out a number of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence and advanced computing, lawmakers on the House Science Committee primarily focused on research and funding an approach. comprehensive for scientific innovation.
“History teaches that problem solving can spur innovation, which in turn creates new industries and gains a competitive advantage,” writes Ms. Johnson.
William A. Reinsch, Scholl chair of international business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that with sections on public health challenges and the STEM workforce, the House has come up with “a broader definition of how to enhance our innovation capacity and be running.”
The Senate bill, passed by a vote of 68-32, was run by Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat and majority leader, a longtime China hawk. Nation, who had been eager to enact what would be the most significant government intervention in industrial policy in decades. It was driven in large part by bipartisan concern about China’s hold on global supply chains, which has become particularly acute amid shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic. President Biden welcomed its passage and said he hoped to sign it into law “as soon as possible.”
It will allocate hundreds of billions more dollars into science research and development pipelines in the United States, create grants and promote agreements between private companies and research universities to encourage breakthroughs in new technologies.
As the legislation moved through the boardroom, echoing similar concerns from lawmakers on the House Science Committee, senators moved most of the $100 billion in capital slated for a new center. research and development center for emerging technologies at the National Science Foundation to basic research. as laboratories run by the Department of Energy. The amount spent on cutting-edge research has been reduced to $29 billion, with the rest of the original fund going to research and labs.
Those changes could reassure House lawmakers as they seek to reconcile the two bills in the coming months.