RELEASE: Khanna, Schumer, Young, Gallagher Unveil Endless Frontier Act To Bolster U.S. Leadership In Science And Tech Innovation And Dramatically Increase Investment In Emerging Tech As China Seeks To Leverage The Coronavirus Pandemic For Their Gain; Coro
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Todd Young (R-IN), and Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) unveiled the bipartisan, bicameral Endless Frontier Act, an initiative to solidify the United States’ leadership in scientific and technological innovation through increased investments in the discovery, creation, and commercialization of technology fields of the future. The bipartisan legislation further targets support to ensure new research investments translate into new American companies, manufacturing and high-tech jobs, and opportunities for regions across the country to become global centers of emerging technology industries.
The coronavirus pandemic, in many ways, caught the United States inadequately prepared, and exposed the consequences of our long-term failure to sufficiently invest in scientific research. China and others are stealing American intellectual property and aggressively investing in research and commercialization to dominate the known technology fields of the future. The Members of Congress emphasize that without a significant and sustained increase in investment in research, education and training, technology transfer and entrepreneurship, manufacturing, and the broader U.S. innovation ecosystem across the nation, it is only a matter of time before America’s global competitors overtake the U.S. in terms of technological primacy.
“To win the 21st century, we need to invest in the technologies of the future,” said Rep. Ro Khanna. “That means increasing public funding into those sectors of our economy that will drive innovation and create new jobs. Particularly at a moment when so many folks are in need of stable employment, Congress should do everything in our power to develop sustainable industries across our country that will be here to stay, or else risk losing our competitive edge to China.”
“The coronavirus pandemic has shown the science and technology gap between the United States and the rest of the world is closing fast and that threatens our long-term health, economic competitiveness, and national security,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer. “America cannot afford to continue our decades-long underinvestment and expect to lead the world in advanced scientific and technological research. To ensure our advantage, our bill treats scientific research as a national security priority and provides substantial new investments into funding critical research and development to build the industries of the future in regions across the country.”
“The spread of the coronavirus from China to the rest of the world has heightened the public’s awareness of the deep connections and serious vulnerabilities that shape our lives in the 21st century,” said Sen. Todd Young. “By virtue of being the first to emerge on the other side of this pandemic, the Chinese Communist Party is working hard to use the crisis to its advantage by extending influence over the global economy. Instead of allowing Beijing to threaten our values and interests, now is the time for America and our allies to invest in ourselves and give the world a clear alternative. America’s history is filled with bold initiatives and calculated investments that have harnessed America’s ability to collaborate across the public and private sectors. As America emerges from this crisis, we must not be content with merely recovering our losses. Instead, we must position ourselves to lead and the Endless Frontier Act is the way to do it.”
“In recent years, the United States has taken important steps to slow the transfer of critical technologies to the Chinese Communist Party,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher. “But in order to ensure the CCP does not gain technological superiority in the future, we also need make proactive investments in strategic technologies central to the competition. The Endless Frontiers Act is a downpayment for future generations of American technological leadership, and I'm proud to introduce it on a bipartisan basis.” The Endless Frontier Act proposes an expansion of the National Science Foundation (NSF)—to be renamed the National Science and Technology Foundation (NTSF)—and the establishment of a Technology Directorate within NTSF to advance technology in 10 critical focus areas.
The Endless Frontier Act proposes an expansion of the National Science Foundation (NSF)—to be renamed the National Science and Technology Foundation (NTSF)—and the establishment of a Technology Directorate within NTSF to advance technology in 10 critical focus areas.
The newly-established Technology Directorate would receive $100 billion over five years to lead investment and research in artificial intelligence and machine learning; high performance computing; robotics, automation, and advanced manufacturing; and more. An additional $10 billion would be authorized to designate at least 10 regional technology hubs, awarding funds for comprehensive investment initiatives that position regions across the country to be global centers for the research, development, and manufacturing of key technologies.
Endless Frontier Act
For over 70 years, the United States has been the unequivocal global leader in scientific and technological innovation, and as a result the American people have benefited through good-paying jobs, economic prosperity, and a higher quality of life. Today, however, this leadership position is being eroded. Far too many of our communities have tremendous innovation potential but lack the investment to build the nation’s strength in new technologies, while our foreign competitors, some of whom are stealing American intellectual property and trade secrets, are aggressively investing in fundamental research, and commercialization, to dominate the key technology fields of the future.
Without a significant increase in investment in research, education and training, technology transfer and entrepreneurship, and the broader U.S. innovation ecosystem across the nation, it is only a matter of time before America’s global competitors overtake the U.S. in terms of technological primacy: whichever country wins the race in key technologies – such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, advanced communications, and advanced manufacturing – will be the superpower of the future. The U.S. government needs to catalyze U.S. innovation by boosting investments in the discovery, creation, and commercialization of new technologies that ensure American leadership in the industries of the future.
To do this, we propose the Endless Frontier Act:
- The National Science Foundation (NSF) would be renamed the National Science and Technology Foundation (NSTF) and task a new deputy director with funding fundamental research related to specific recognized global technology challenges with geostrategic implications for the United States.
- The new NSTF would have two Deputy Directors – one to oversee existing NSF operations and the other to oversee a newly established Technology Directorate. The bill would provide the new Directorate with flexible personnel, program management, and awarding authorities.
- The new Directorate would be given DARPA-like authorities, with the option to utilize program managers for selecting awardees.
- NSTF would have a Board of Advisors for the Directorate for Technology to advise the Deputy Director on how to strategically advance technology in the 10 key focus areas, and on periodically refreshing the focus areas (while keeping the total at no more than 10 focus areas). The Board would not have decision-making authority. The National Science Board would retain its existing authorities.
- The authorization for the new Directorate would be $100 billion over five years to reinvigorate American leadership in the discovery and application of key technologies that will define global competitiveness.
- An additional $10 billion would be authorized over five years for the Commerce Department to designate 10 to 15 regional technology hubs, awarding funds for comprehensive investment initiatives that position regions across the country to be global centers for the research, development, and production of key technologies.
- The Directorate would be authorized to coordinate with the Department of Commerce and other federal departments and agencies on initiatives to build the regional technology hubs and to connect disadvantaged populations and places to opportunities developing new technologies.
- In addition to carrying out its own activities, the Directorate could provide funding to the rest of NSF and to other federal research agencies when that would advance its goals. The Directorate would be prohibited from taking money from other elements of NSF.
- The new Directorate would invest in key technology focus areas that include:
1. artificial intelligence and machine learning
2. high performance computing, semiconductors, and advanced computer hardware
3. quantum computing and information systems
4. robotics, automation, and advanced manufacturing
5. natural or anthropogenic disaster prevention
6. advanced communications technology
7. biotechnology, genomics, and synthetic biology
8. advanced energy technology
9. cybersecurity, data storage, and data management technologies
10. materials science, engineering, and exploration relevant to the other key technology areas
The authorized activities include:
- Increases in research spending at universities (which can form consortia that include industry) to advance U.S. progress in key technology areas, including the creation of focused research centers;
- New undergraduate scholarships, industry training programs, graduate fellowships and traineeships and post-doctoral support in the targeted research areas to develop the U.S. workforce;
- The development of test-bed and fabrication facilities;
- Programs to facilitate and accelerate the transfer of new technologies from the lab to the marketplace, including expanding access to investment capital;
- Planning and coordination with state and local economic development stakeholders and the private sector to build regional innovation ecosystems; and
- Increases in research spending for collaboration with U.S. allies, partners, and international organizations
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About the Office
Congressman Khanna represents the 17th District of California, which covers communities in Silicon Valley. Visit his website at khanna.house.gov. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @RepRoKhanna.