Competitiveness and innovation

Following a month of intense activity in Congress, lawmakers have passed bipartisan semiconductor funding and innovation policy measures that have been in the works since the Trump administration. Meanwhile, Democrats also revived the fortunes of a partisan spending bill that includes funding for climate change mitigation as well as a significant boost for some science budgets.

Arati Prabhakar’s nomination to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has advanced to the Senate floor for a final vote.

Congress is on the cusp of approving historic legislation that would provide more than $50 billion to the semiconductor sector and lay out ambitious expansion plans for a set of federal science agencies.

Democratic leaders are narrowing their ambitions for Congress’ bipartisan innovation policy bill in a push to finish it in July, but many questions remain about what the final product will look like.

President Biden’s nominee to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has maintained a career-long focus on applications-oriented R&D and is an ardent advocate for applying the Advanced Research Projects Agency model to national problems.

The National Science Foundation is seeking to seed innovation ecosystems across the U.S. through regional “Engines” that fund partnerships between diverse groupings of organizations. The program is a major new component of the agency’s focus on expanding the “geography of innovation.”

A new report from the National Science Board finds that the U.S. has continued to lose its clear leadership position in global science and engineering. Accordingly, the board recommends the nation position itself as an international hub for scientific collaboration and take urgent action to strengthen the domestic STEM workforce.

The House Science Committee has held two hearings thus far examining semiconductor industry needs as Congress considers pumping billions of dollars into domestic semiconductor R&D and manufacturing.

The House passed the America COMPETES Act of 2022 today on a nearly party-line vote that foreshadows challenges the House and Senate may face in crafting a compromise bill capable of passing both chambers.

The House has revealed its response to the landmark innovation policy package the Senate passed last year, a major step toward negotiating a compromise version. However, there are a host of thorny policy disagreements yet to be resolved.