Bipartisan Job Creation and Innovation Bill Co-Authored by Lipinski Passes Congress (December 17, 2010)

Today, Research and Science Education Subcommittee Chairman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) helped lead passage of bipartisan legislation to create jobs and improve American competitiveness by investing in manufacturing, science education, and advanced research. Congressman Lipinski is a co-author of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, H.R. 5116, which the President is now expected to sign into law.

“As unemployment remains painfully high and our students continue to fall behind in math and science, Americans are asking, ‘What can be done to make the future better?’” Lipinski said on the House floor. “Although it is unlikely to gain headlines, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act is a critical part of the answer. This approach to research, education, and innovation will lead to more jobs, a better prepared and better educated domestic workforce, and an economy built for long-term success.

“Over the last decade, we’ve seen domestic manufacturers shed millions of jobs as Chinese and other foreign-made goods flooded our country. The COMPETES Act is critical to reversing that trend and setting America on a path to long-term, sustainable economic growth. It will bolster science, technology, engineering, and math education for our children, equipping America’s next generation to thrive in the fast-paced global economy. It will provide scientists with the support they need to make breakthrough discoveries capable of launching new industries, drawing on such models as the Defense Department research program that laid the foundation for the Internet. And, as I fought for over many months, this bill promotes manufacturing innovation in a variety of ways to make sure that the latest high-tech products are not just designed here but also stamped ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ I’m especially pleased that some important ideas from my National Manufacturing Strategy Act were included in the final version of the legislation.”

Passed by the House in July, the Congressman’s National Manufacturing Strategy Act influenced the final version of H.R. 5116, which now mandates development of a National Economic Competitiveness Strategy.

Like the NMSA, this strategy requires the government and private sector representatives to conduct a wide-ranging assessment of American competitiveness; the impact of federal trade, export, and other policies; and the state of the manufacturing sector. The results will then be used to develop recommendations for strengthening the U.S. industrial base and promoting economy-wide innovation.

The COMPETES Act also includes Congressman Lipinski’s National Science Foundation reauthorization, H.R. 4997, which includes the authorization of a new high-tech manufacturing research program. As called for by the Congressman, the bill requires the government to provide manufacturers with improved access to powerful supercomputers at National Laboratories that can help increase product innovation, reduce costs, and ultimately create jobs. In addition, it provides loan guarantees for manufacturers for the use or production of innovative technologies.

In keeping with language Congressman Lipinski included in the House version of COMPETES, the bill features a program to offer cash prizes for solving crucial scientific problems. Such prizes have a long history and a strong track record of sparking notable achievements and discoveries.

“Recent months have brought further confirmation that America is at risk of losing its competitive edge and desperately needs to make the investments contained in this bill,” Congressman Lipinski said. “For instance, new international test results show American students continue to lag behind many of their overseas peers in math and science. But I believe passage of this measure with the support of both Republicans and Democrats provides cause for optimism. The COMPETES reauthorization puts us on a path to double investment in basic research programs; supports transformative research in key areas such as clean energy; improves science, technology, engineering, and math education; invests in research to enhance the manufacturing sector’s productivity and innovation; and improves programs to ensure researchers’ discoveries translate into new products, jobs, and companies. Above all, it represents a vote of confidence in the unparalleled scientific and technological ingenuity of the American people.”

(December 17, 2010