Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks Introducing U.S. Innovation And Competition Act

May 18, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor as he filed the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 as a substitute amendment to the Endless Frontier Act. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks: 

I have just filed a substitute amendment to the Endless Frontier Act that will pull together bipartisan legislation from across the Senate Committees into a single, comprehensive bill to restore America’s competitive edge.

The new bill will be called the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, and it will include:

                 Bipartisan legislation from the Foreign Relations Committee to strengthen our alliances and hold China accountable for predatory trade practices

                 Bipartisan legislation from the Homeland Security Committee to invest in AI, cybersecurity and policies to make sure American taxpayer money is used to buy American products

                 Bipartisan legislation from the HELP Committee to protect our research and invest in STEM

                 Bipartisan legislation from the Judiciary Committee to bolster anti-trust enforcement

                 Bipartisan legislation from Banking to sanction predatory behavior from the Chinese Communist party

                 And, very importantly, the substitute amendment will now include a historic $52 billion investment to make sure the U.S. stays on the cutting edge of chip production, semiconductor chip production, which is essential for this country’s economy including our auto industry, our tech industry, and our military.

Again—this legislation will now include a historic and immediate infusion of federal money in the semiconductor industry, to boost domestic production and shore up critical supply chains. This is a very big deal, it fits in with the concept of the Endless Frontier Act, and I’m very pleased it will be in the bill.

American manufacturing has suffered rather dramatically from a chip shortage. We have all heard about auto plants in our states that are closed or operating at reduced capacity because they can’t get the chips. The shortage in our tech industry also shows how vulnerable our supply chains are. We simply cannot rely on foreign processors for chips. This amendment will make sure that we don’t have to. America invented the semiconductor chip. We’re still at the cutting edge of research, but fewer than 12% of them are made in America and if this bill doesn’t pass, it will go down to six. Other countries, notably China, will become the leaders, not just in chip manufacturing and chip production but in the many industries that depend on chips. We cannot let that happen, and the best way to do that is to add this amendment to the bill, which I have just done, and make sure it passes. So the substitute amendment is dramatic, not only in terms of chips but in terms of American investment in research, in science, in innovation. When we invest in research and science and innovation, millions of good-paying jobs follow, and the American economy leads the world. Our failure to invest will displace us from that position and all too soon.

All told, the substitute amendment will mean the that legislation we’re about to debate is the product of half-a-dozen Senate Committees and with input from just about nearly every member of the Senate. This legislation, I am proud to say is thoroughly bipartisan, and it shows when our colleagues will work with us, we want to work together whenever we can.

Now, these policies may sound complicated, but they’re propelled by a simple motivation: making sure the United States stays the global economic leader.

In the 20th Century, American prosperity was anchored in our unmatched capacity for innovation and invention. Researchers at American universities and laboratories fashioned marvels that changed the way we work, the way we communicate, and the way we live. American workers and businesses brought those innovations to a global market, producing the largest middle class in the world and an almost innate optimism about the future.

But here, unfortunately, in the 21st Century, America is falling behind. Other countries are investing more in their economies and training their focus on beating the United States to the key technologies of the future.

If we don’t step up now—now, not two years from now, now—and if we don’t step up in an big and bold way, we risk missing out on a generation of good-paying jobs, millions and millions of them. We risk ceding the mantle of global economic leadership to our adversaries. We risk losing the sunny optimism that has defined the American character for generations.

This is an issue where we can unite our country behind the goal of keeping America number one in science and technology.

And this bill will put us a giant step closer to keeping America one step ahead for decades to come.