The White House issued a statement on Wednesday in support of the Endless Frontier Act, a piece of legislation which aims to increase investments in science and technology innovation in order to strengthen economic and national security and compete with China and other countries.
The bill, which was introduced by both Democrats and Republicans and is co-sponsored in widely bipartisan fashion, would expand the National Science Foundation, establish a Technology and Innovation Directorate within the NSF, and provide the newly-established branch with $100 billion in funding over 5 years “to invest in basic and advanced research, commercialization, and education and training programs in technology areas critical to national leadership.”
The Directorate of the National Science Foundation would have authority similar to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the R&D arm of the Department of Defense.
The major technology focus areas for the new agency include artificial intelligence and machine learning, quantum computing, natural or anthropogenic disaster prevention, biotechnology and medical technology, cybersecurity, and advanced energy solutions.
The bill would also give $10 billion to establish regional technology hubs nationwide to serve as R&D, entrepreneurship and manufacturing hubs, invest over $2.4 billion in U.S. manufacturing and competitiveness, and establish a Supply Chain Resiliency and Crisis Response Program.
“We welcome the bipartisan introduction of the Endless Frontier Act – one more encouraging sign of the bipartisan support for investing in America’s competitiveness,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “The President shares the co-sponsors’ commitment to making a bold investment in American innovation—including large increases in funding at the National Science Foundation to support both R&D and commercialization, and new funding to support regional economic development so what is discovered in America can be made in America.”
The bill was introduced by the bipartisan coalition of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), and Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI).
“This legislation will enhance American competitiveness with China and other countries by investing in American innovation, building up regions across the country to lead in the innovation economy, creating good-paying American manufacturing and high-tech jobs, and strengthening America’s research, development, and manufacturing capabilities,” Schumer said.
“The Endless Frontier Act is the key to preserving America’s position on the world stage as a current and future technological leader in the 21st Century,” the majority leader added, who specified that this bill will be one of the Senate’s next legislative priorities.
“This is a rare opportunity to show the authoritarians in Beijing, and the rest of the world, that when it comes to our national security, and most importantly our China policy, we are united,” Sen. Young said. “The Endless Frontier Act is our path forward.”
The bill is also co-sponsored by Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Gary Peters (D-MI), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ), as well as Reps. Susan Wild (D-PA), Mike Turner (R-OH), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ).
“The era of endless wars is coming to a close and, in its place, we are set to embark upon a 21st century full of mass investment in scientific discovery & technological innovation,” Rep. Khanna said. “We must win the technology race.”
Psaki also mentioned that Biden is incredibly supportive of “the bill’s focus on strengthening American supply chains,” which is one of the president’s major priorities, including in his ongoing push for a sweeping infrastructure and jobs plan.
“We look forward to working with Congress to further shape this legislation to renew America’s global leadership in science and technology and to make sure we develop and manufacture the technologies of the future,” Psaki concluded.