The House of Representatives waded into the final stages of debate today in its consideration of the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength Act of 2022 (COMPETES).
If approved by the House, the America COMPETES Act is expected to be conferenced with the Senate-approved United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which tracks with many of the same issues in the House legislation.
The House’s consideration of its version of the innovation and competition bill began Feb. 2, after a rule setting the grounds for consideration was agreed upon with unanimous consent. Debate continued today, with a final vote expected as soon as Thursday night.
The America COMPETES Act is top-lined by $52 billion in funding for the CHIPS Act, $45 billion for supply chain resiliency, and the creation of a new directorate at the National Science Foundation. Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., also emphasized the inclusion of a number of other bipartisan priorities amidst the wide-ranging competition bill.
“The America COMPETES Act includes several bipartisan bills that expand America’s economic competitiveness and make education and skills training for critical manufacturing and technology sectors more accessible to American students and workers,” Hoyer said in a press release Feb. 2.
“Within the America COMPETES Act, there are at least 63 bills with Republican co-sponsors. Of those 63 bills, 29 of them have previously passed the House with a bipartisan vote, reflecting critical bipartisan priorities such as authorizing research and innovation programs at the Department of Energy, strengthening national security by examining cybersecurity vulnerabilities in mobile service networks, and making apprenticeships more accessible for America’s students.”
While the inclusion of language from bills such as the NSF for the Future Act, the Department of Energy Science for the Future Act, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology for the Future Act has already been reported, Hoyer’s release looked to highlight other legislation with bipartisan support included in the America COMPETES Act.
Among those are the American Cybersecurity Literacy Act, which passed the House in December; the Rural STEM Education Research Act, which passed in May 2021; and the SAVE Act of 2021, which also passed last May.
The American Cybersecurity Literacy Act, introduced by Rep. Adam Kinzinger, D-Ill., would establish a national cybersecurity literacy campaign to help citizens understand how to mitigate cyber risks by teaching them how to identify phishing attempts, the benefits of changing passwords, using multi-factor authentication, and more. The bill sailed through the House with a 408-17 vote.
The Rural STEM Education Research Act was originally introduced by Reps. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, in January 2021. The bill would give rural teachers more resources to teach and train in STEM, increase rural broadband access, and support rural STEM research among other priorities. The bill’s inclusion is a perfect fit alongside the increases for research and education funding in the larger America COMPETES legislation.
Another good fit for the larger bill – the SAVE Act of 2021, or the Securing America’s Vaccines for Emergencies Act – was introduced by Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., and focuses on strengthening the security of the medical materials supply chain. The bill would give President Biden authority to fund supply-chain security initiatives for medical materials manufacturers “whose output is important to the national defense.”