One Last 2016 Senate Commerce Bill Heads to White House

The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act boosts innovation and maximizes scientific research

December 16, 2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who serve respectively as the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statements on the passage of S. 3084, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA), sending the bill to the White House for the president’s signature. The House was able to take up and pass the legislation by unanimous consent today after the Senate approved it during its last legislative day of the 114th Congress.
“Sending this bill to the White House is an overtime victory for science in the closing days of 2016,” said Thune. “This bill only passed the Senate in the early morning hours of Saturday after the House had already finished its business. It looked like the clock had run out, but the bipartisan team of House and Senate supporters behind this bill kept pushing. I especially appreciate House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for making House passage possible.”

“Scientific discovery drives economic growth,” said Nelson. “This important legislation will bolster federal research and preserve America’s competitive edge globally for decades to come.”
The legislation, which includes a substitute amendment reflecting common priorities of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee, was originally introduced in the Senate by committee members Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). The bill encourages scientific entrepreneurship, maximizes research opportunities, reduces administrative burdens for researchers, and promotes oversight of taxpayer-funded research. It also enhances diversity in STEM fields, private-sector innovation, and manufacturing.
Beginning in July 2015, Sens. Thune and Nelson selected Sens. Gardner and Peters to lead the Committee’s innovation and competitiveness working group that examined a path forward for updates to federal science and technology research policy. Science and technology leaders provided input to the working group for the development of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act. The bill updates policies at the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, among other federal science agencies.
Click here for bill text.
Click here to view a summary of the legislation provided by Sens. Gardner and Peters.