Durbin, Rockefeller, Nelson, Pryor, Coons, Markey, Introduce America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) John D. (Jay) Rockefeller (D-WV), IV, Bill Nelson (D-FL), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Ed Markey (D-MA), today introduced the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014. The bill builds on the goals and successes of the America COMPETES Act of 2007 and its reauthorization in 2010. The Senators’ bill would authorize stable and sustained increases in federal research and development (R&D) funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The bill would also promote the economic benefits of promising R&D and address agency efforts, including at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to increase participation in STEM fields, including among women and minorities.

Recognizing the need for long-term investments in science and technology, Congress passed the first America COMPETES Act in 2007 and reauthorized it in 2010. The Acts aimed to significantly increase investments in key federal research and development (R&D) activities; to advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education; and to support the innovation necessary for economic growth. COMPETES remains essential today. In 2013, more than 70 organizations representing business, higher education, and scientific communities signed onto “Guiding Principles” to inform a COMPETES reauthorization and reiterated the importance of basic research investments as a top national priority.

“Government supported scientific research has helped split the atom, eradicate disease, explore the depths of our universe, and accomplish much more. It is crucial that the United States continues to support the scientists and researchers at our federal agencies who will be the pioneers in the next great discovery for mankind,” Durbin said. “I am proud to join Senator Rockefeller and others in introducing the America COMPETES Act. This bill will increase the nation’s competitiveness on the global stage when it comes to investments in research and development.” 


“To make sure America continues to lead the world in research, we must provide support for the institutions and agencies at the center of American innovation,” Rockefeller said. “The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014 supports a wide-range of critical research, while also advancing STEM education and working to put our best research results into the marketplace. Our bill makes it clear that the U.S. is committed not only to investing in research, but also to getting our students excited about STEM so that America can continue to lead the world in innovation.”


“I look forward to seeing what discoveries our federal science agencies in conjunction with our colleges and universities produce,” Nelson said. 


“The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act is all about innovation, entrepreneurship, and creating good-paying jobs in America,” Pryor said. “I was proud to work with Senator Rockefeller to include regional innovation, prize competitions, STEM participation for women and minorities, advanced manufacturing, and nanotechnology, which will strengthen U.S. competitiveness and keep America ahead of the field.”


“Since it was first enacted in 2007, the America COMPETES Act has provided a critical roadmap for American leadership in science, technology, and innovation," Coons said. "Today this legislation is more important than ever, as more and more of our global competitors ramp up their investments in research and development. The 2010 COMPETES reauthorization was one of the first bills I cosponsored as a senator, and I’m proud to help lead its reauthorization in the Senate again this year. We have to keep investing in the research and innovation that will drive our economy and keep our nation competitive.”


"Scientific discovery is fundamental to American innovation and critical to our economic and national security. Science unlocks mysteries from the edge of space to the depths of the oceans, leading to the solutions, technologies and industries that fuel American exceptionalism. Federal support for scientific research is essential, and I am proud to join with Senators Rockefeller, Durbin, Nelson, Pryor and Coons in introducing the COMPETES Act,” Markey said.


Senator Durbin has been a leader on efforts to maintain America’s global leadership and economic competitiveness through scientific research. In March, Durbin introduced the American Cures Act, which would support the future of scientific research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Defense Health Program (DHP), and the Veterans Medical & Prosthetics Research Program. The bill would augment federal appropriations for biomedical research with a mandatory trust fund dedicated to steady growth in research conducted at NIH, CDC, DHP, and the Veterans Medical & Prosthetics Research Program. Each year, the bill would increase funding for each agency and program at a rate of GDP-indexed inflation plus 5 percent. This steady, long-term investment would allow the agencies to plan and manage strategic growth while maximizing efficiencies.