Durbin Statement On Senate Passage Of Bipartisan U.S. Innovation And Competition Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement after the Senate voted to pass the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021.  The legislation represents the largest investment in U.S. science and technology leadership since the Apollo era.  It will authorize more than $100 billion over five years to support breakthrough scientific discovery and technological innovation in 10 key areas that are vital to building an innovation economy and winning the good-jobs race for the 21st century.

“I believe in the brains and the brawn of Illinois’ workers and researchers.  I believe they can lead the world, as they have over and over again, if we trust and invest in them.  Today, the Senate passed a strategic investment in American research and innovation.  The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 will counter China’s rapid growth and influence by supporting American jobs and manufacturing.  Illinois stands to benefit from this bill and I urge the House to pass it soon.”

The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 will also strengthen the security of essential supply chains, and our ability to solve supply-chain disruptions during crises.  This will benefit cities like Belvidere, Illinois.  In late March, the Stellantis plant in Belvidere, which assembles Jeep Cherokees, was forced to shut down because of the global shortage of microchips.  This week, the company announced that the plant will be forced to shut down for an additional two weeks because of microchip shortages.  Durbin helped secure a provision to address these microchip shortage issues.

Additionally, the bill increases funding for National Science Foundation activities.  Durbin pushed for this funding authorization, and has supported increased scientific and biomedical research funding over the past six years in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

It also includes a Durbin provision helping American farmers and manufacturers by requiring the administration to develop a plan to significantly boost U.S. exports to Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The measure was part of a Durbin bill expanded and supported by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). 

Durbin also led an effort to protect the release of Special Drawing Rights at the International Monetary Fund to help poorer nations purchase vaccines and weather the pandemic’s economic fallout.