Congress

Congress should legislate the collaboration between the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy on energy innovation.

DOD and DOE signed a memorandum of understanding in the summer of 2010 that laid the groundwork for cooperation on the development of an array of clean energy technologies, including advanced batteries. Firming up this collaboration would be a simple way to ensure both departments’ efforts are productive and aligned. So Congress should officially legislate the collaboration between DOD and DOE so additional funds could be appropriated for their efforts.

Congress should increase funds for the United States Trade Representative to step up enforcement of clean energy trade issues.

To facilitate increased funding, Congress should create a new office of Globalization Strategies within USTR. Within this new office a special unit to address green mercantilist trade practices should be formed so that the U.S. can bring cases whenever its clean energy interests are being hurt through trade rule violations.

Congress should uniformly apply the performance copyright for sound recordings to all broadcasts.

Congress should uniformly apply the performance copyright for sound recordings to all broadcasts. The current system discriminates against non-terrestrial music services by imposing a performance copyright on sound recordings for all non-terrestrial radio broadcasts. Congress should promote technology-neutral policies to ensure a fair and competitive market for all forms of radio. Not only does this exemption for terrestrial radio disadvantage competing technologies, it also results in unfair compensation to the copyright holders. Congress should take an all-or-nothing approach so that terrestrial radio, Internet radio, satellite radio and other digital music services can compete fairly. In other words, everybody should pay (ideally), or nobody should pay, but the discrepancy should be eliminated. Terrestrial radio should not be the only technology platform exempt from paying royalties for performances of sound recordings.

Congress should amend the Internal Revenue Code such that statistical agencies such as the BEA and BLS gain access to the Census Bureau’s Business Register for more accurate reporting.

U.S. statistical agencies are barred by law from sharing important microdata with one another, and this leads to statistics on the U.S. economy that are badly inaccurate. These accuracy problems affect everything from the BEA’s national and state GDP statistics, to the BLS’s and the Census Bureau’s (separate) employment, payroll and establishment statistics, to statistics on the productivity growth and trade balances in strategic sectors such as manufacturing. And because these statistics are used by the federal government to make fiscal and monetary policy decisions, this data sharing problem leads to misdiagnosis of economic problems and ineffective policies. Moreover, the lack of data sharing leads to work redundancy (many agencies procuring their own data to produce similar statistics), increasing budget costs while also increasing the reporting burden on private businesses. Congress should amend the Internal Revenue Code such that statistical agencies such as the BEA and BLS gain access to the Census Bureau’s Business Register (which is derived from IRS data).

Congress should maintain NIH funding at a level commensurate with at least one quarter of one percent of national GDP to keep the U.S. competitive in this critical sector.

Congress should maintain the stability of funding levels with minimal fluctuations from year to year; and Congress should maintain NIH funding at a level commensurate with at least one quarter of one percent (0.25%) of national GDP or higher. Our nation’s baseline policy going forward should be to grow NIH funding at a rate that accounts for inflation, embraces emerging avenues of research that can propel U.S. innovative leadership, and reflects the catalytic effect biomedical research has on our nation’s economy.

Congress should appropriate approximately $65 million a year to NSF for five years to be awarded as prizes to colleges and universities in order to increase focus on select STEM students.

Congress should appropriate approximately $65 million a year to NSF for five years to be awarded as prizes to colleges and universities that have dramatically increased the rate at which their freshmen STEM students graduate with STEM degrees and that demonstrably sustained the increase over five years.

The Senate Finance Committee should consider instituting a modest tax on CO2 emissions and use the revenues to lower the effective corporate tax rate.

The Senate Finance Committee should consider instituting a modest tax on CO2 emissions and to use the revenues to lower the effective corporate tax rate. A $15/ton CO2 tax levied economy-wide would raise $90 billion annually, which could fund not only the expanded incentives here (and an expanded R&D credit), but also from statutory rate reduction. ITIF estimates that if the tax revenues were used to pay for expanded corporate tax incentives of the kind described above U.S. manufacturers as a group would actually pay lower taxes.

Congress should consider an Investment Tax Credit to provide a credit (at a lower rate) on all capital expenditures made above 75 percent of the base.

Congress should consider establishing an investment tax credit modeled on the Alternative Simplified R&D Credit (ASC). The ASC provides a credit of 14 percent on R&D expenditures above 50 percent of the average firm expenditures of the last three years. An Investment Tax Credit could provide a credit (at a lower rate) on all capital expenditures made above 75 percent of the base (the base would be the average expenditures on qualifying capital equipment over the last three years).

Congress should authorize and appropriate $5 million to create an Office of Globalization Strategy within USTR.

USTR too often engages in fighting the last wars—the tariff war and the war to sign trade agreements. It’s not set up, either institutionally or philosophically, to fight the current war—the war against rampant innovation mercantilism fueled by a wide array of non-tariff barriers. To help address this, Congress should authorize and appropriate $5 million to create an Office of Globalization Strategy within USTR, run by a Deputy for Globalization Strategy. Similar to the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning, the office would be charged with systems thinking about the design of U.S. trade policy in the context of globalization to ensure renewed U.S. competitiveness.

Congress should pass legislation that authorizes states to require out-of-state sellers to collect and remit sales taxes without imposing any undue burden on these sellers in order to equalize online and "brick-and-mortar" retailers.

Congress should allow states to require out-of-state sellers to collect sales tax, but it should only grant this authority under a framework that ensures that states create and maintain a fair and simple tax system that does not unduly burden out-of-state sellers. States rightly argue that tax laws need to evolve to allow them to require out-of-state sellers without nexus to collect and remit taxes on Internet sales to state residents. Neither Internet retailers nor brick-and-mortar retailers should receive preferential tax treatment.
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