House and Senate conferees discuss priorities, importance of investing in US manufacturing, chips, R&D
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, (D-Wash.), Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today chaired a public meeting to kick off the Senate and House Conference Committee on bipartisan innovation and competition legislation, H.R. 4521. The 100+ member Conference Committee is tasked with reconciling differences between the Senate’s United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) and the House’s America COMPETES Act, which will culminate in a conference report.
“I believe this is a Sputnik moment, where it is clear to Americans that we are falling behind on innovation, and we can't risk falling further behind,” said Sen. Cantwell. “Let's roll up our sleeves, strengthen America’s supply chains, help drive down costs for Americans, and reinvigorate manufacturing here at home. That is what we need to do to ensure the next 100 years of global leadership and to build things right here in the United States of America.”
During the meeting, conference committee members spoke about their priorities and the importance of coming to a bipartisan agreement on this legislation.
Cantwell, a champion of the USICA legislation, had for months called for Congress to act on the bill. She spoke on the Senate floor on March 28, 2022; March 24, 2022; March 21, 2022; February 10, 2022, and February 4, 2022 encouraging her colleagues to pass this critical bill on behalf of the American people. The Senator previously chaired a Commerce Committee hearing with tech CEOs on the importance of U.S. investment in America’s domestic semiconductor manufacturing and research.
Ahead of the Senate vote that set the stage for the conference committee, Cantwell urged her colleagues to come to the table to negotiate a final bill. On March 24, she spoke on the Senate floor about the impact the semiconductor supply chain shortage is having on the price of used cars and delivered remarks on the Senate floor about the urgency to appoint a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills.