In the final hours before Congress went home for the holidays, it passed a bill that places a priority on innovation and the important role basic research plays in today’s manufacturing economy. The House and Senate both unanimously passed S. 3084, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act.
This bipartisan legislation authorizes research programs at the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It directs NIST to conduct cybersecurity research in certain areas—a top priority for manufacturers. The bill also stresses the importance of public–private partnerships. Lawmakers clearly recognize that industry-led innovation is what it takes to increase the competitive edge of the United States.
As the largest investors in research and development, manufacturers appreciate this commitment to innovation. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) recently released our technology policy priorities in a new blueprint, as part of our “Competing to Win” agenda. The NAM is calling on leaders in Washington to robustly fund basic research accounts, maintain the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program and adhere to long-term commitments to future strategic plays. S. 3084 lays the groundwork to help achieve these goals.
Other nations around the world have steadily increased their investment in research funding in an attempt to surpass the United States as the world leader in innovation. The NAM looks forward to working with Congress and the new administration to ensure the United States retains its lead and remains the best place in the world to innovate.