Press Releases

Sens. Warner, Klobuchar, LeMieux win support for measure to boost US innovation, economic competitiveness

Amendment to COMPETES Act requires 10-year competitiveness plan

Jul 22 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and George LeMieux (R-FL) successfully amended the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 during today’s Senate Commerce Committee meeting to include an amendment that will promote long-term job growth and boost the economic competitiveness of the United States. The amendment also is co-sponsored by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Mark Begich (D-AK).

The amendment directs the U.S. Department of Commerce to conduct a long-term study to assess current levels of innovation in the U.S and our competitiveness in comparison to other countries. The amendment also directs the Commerce Department to create a national strategy for economic competitiveness and innovation for the next 10 years, and provide yearly progress reports to Congress.

“Short-term job creation is necessary, but long-term vision is critically important, too,” Senator Warner said. “This bipartisan amendment will result in a long-term strategy for economic growth, international competitiveness and sustained success.”

“The economic prosperity of our country depends on our ability to compete in an increasingly global economy,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Innovation and competition are what made our country great in the first place. We need to make innovation a driving force in a national plan to increase our economic competitiveness.”

“Staying ahead of the curve in science and technology is crucial to playing a leading role in the global market,” Sen. LeMeiux said. “Encouraging the private sector to coordinate and collaborate with universities implementing innovative research programs is a natural way to support the talent of tomorrow. This bill will help ensure that Federally-funded research translates into marketable new technologies, products, and patents. It will also address some of the concerns regarding the ‘valley of death’ small and mid-size businesses face when trying to secure financing to bridge the gap between innovation and commercialization.”

The U.S. has not had a comprehensive competitiveness strategy since the work of the Domestic Policy Review on Industrial Innovation in 1978 and the President’s Commission on Industrial Competitiveness in 1983. These strategies set the stage for several important Congressional initiatives, including the highly-popular Research and Development Tax Credit, which is widely credited with promoting significant investment and job creation.

The amendment also creates an Innovation Advisory Board comprised of members from a variety of industries and backgrounds to provide real-time feedback from the business community on the strategy.

Senators worked closely with members of the high-tech community in drafting this amendment, and leading IT organizations have endorsed the proposal, including the Information Technology Industry Council, Tech CEO Council, Information Technology Industry Council, and the National Center for Manufacturing Science.

# # #