Endless Frontier Act - H.R.6978 / S.3832

"A bill to establish a new Directorate for Technology in the redesignated National Science and Technology Foundation, to establish a regional technology hub program, to require a strategy and report on economic security, science, research, and innovation, and for other purposes."
Primary Sponsors
Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) / Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Todd Young (R-IN)
Summary of Selected Provisions

Selected provisions in bill as introduced

  • Renames the National Science Foundation as the National Science and Technology Foundation to reflect the addition of a directorate focused on translating research advances into new technologies
  • Requires the new directorate to focus on no more than 10 “key technology areas” that are determined by the NSTF director and refreshed every four years in consultation with an advisory board
  • Establishes an initial list of key technology areas, which include AI, high performance computing, quantum information systems, robotics, manufacturing, communications, cybersecurity, biotechnology, energy, materials science, and “natural or anthropogenic disaster prevention”
  • Recommends Congress provide the directorate $2 billion in fiscal year 2021, ramping up to $35 billion in fiscal years 2024 and 2025, with a total five year budget of $100 billion
  • Stipulates that the directorate apportion its budget between university technology centers, fellowships, testbeds, a lab-to-market program, and other NSTF directorates
  • Prevents the technology directorate from receiving any funds if the budget allocated to the rest of the agency declines year over year in inflation-adjusted terms
  • Directs the Commerce Department to create a program focused on catalyzing R&D partnerships in areas that are not already leading centers of innovation, with a recommend budget of $10 billion over five years
Actions on the House bill
Bill introduced
Actions on the Senate bill
Bill introduced
Other versions
Relevant FYI Bulletins

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Joe Manchin (D-WV) is pressing for the technology competitiveness legislation that Congress is currently developing to incorporate innovation capabilities offered by the Department of Energy and its national labs.

Sponsors of the Endless Frontier Act have delayed reintroducing the bill amid pushback from some senators, including leaders of key committees, who held hearings this week to debate the legislation’s vision for transforming the U.S. research system.

The House Science Committee has introduced a bill proposing to double the National Science Foundation budget over five years and add a directorate to the agency focused on “societal challenges.” The committee views the bill as an alternative to the Endless Frontier Act, which proposes appending a massive technology-focused directorate to NSF.

As congressional Democrats assemble legislative packages for ambitious R&D, manufacturing, and infrastructure initiatives, leading research community figures are seeking to shape a fast-moving proposal to restructure the National Science Foundation.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said yesterday the Senate is preparing major competitiveness policy legislation centered around his Endless Frontier Act, which proposes to reconfigure the National Science Foundation. He also said the package could include emergency funding for a new semiconductor chip manufacturing initiative.

The National Science Foundation would get a massive new technology directorate, and a new name, under a bipartisan bill unveiled this week that envisions pumping $100 billion into the agency over five years.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke yesterday about a draft proposal to create a “National Science and Technology Foundation” that would spend $100 billion over five years on research related to technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and 5G telecommunications.