New Senate COMPETES Act Includes Key ITIF Proposals
WASHINGTON – The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation today welcomed the Senate Commerce Committee’s approval of legislation to authorize the COMPETES Act with a number of provisions based in part on ITIF proposals.
The COMPETES Act reauthorization aims to enhance national innovation with a comprehensive approach to invest in research and education. The Committee approved the bill with solid bipartisan support. It includes a provision offered by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, and Sen. George LaMieux, R-FL, which would encourage and facilitate the commercialization of innovations taking place in university laboratories and another offered by Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA, and others requiring the Administration to develop a national competitiveness and innovation strategy.
“I am delighted the Committee strengthened this important bill with these amendments,” said ITIF President Robert D. Atkinson. “As ITIF has documented in numerous reports and Congressional testimony, the United States is quickly falling behind other nations when it comes to innovation and competitiveness. I salute the Senators for working with ITIF in developing their ideas to reverse that trend and bolster our long-term economic health and prosperity.”
Senator Warner’s amendment would require the Secretary of Commerce to study all aspects of U.S. competitiveness, from our manufacturing infrastructure to intellectual property enforcement to the role of state and local governments. This would enable policy makers in the Congress and the Administration to can design and adopt policies to enhance U.S. innovation and jobs in the coming decades.
The Klobuchar-LaMieux amendment would help spur greater commercialization of university research into innovations in the economy. Included in the amendment are provisions that would allow universities to use up to five percent of grant amounts toward patent applications for inventions generated by the research, expand PhD fellowships by allowing NSF to match industry donations for fellowship programs, and establish a loan guarantee program for small businesses seeking to commercialize products and patents that emerge from NSF grant-funded projects.
Atkinson testified before the Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation and export Promotion, which Senator Klobuchar chairs and on which Senator LeMieux serves as ranking member, in June and helped shape the legislation. He has also worked closely on innovation policy with Senator Warner, who is an honorary co-chair of ITIF.
The House passed its version of the COMPETES Act reauthorization in May.