Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Moving Forward The Endless Frontier Act With The Commerce Committee Markup

May 12, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the markup of the Endless Frontier Act in the Commerce Committee today, legislation that will address American competitiveness and security in the 21st Century. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks which can also be viewed here:

Today the Commerce Committee will begin marking up the Endless Frontier Act, one of the most significant investments in American innovation in generations. The bill will be at the core of comprehensive legislation to address American competitiveness and security in the 21st Century.

Once again, for the information of the Senate: it is my intention for the Senate to consider and finish competitiveness legislation before the end of the month.

There have been productive bipartisan talks over the last week to improve the Endless Frontier Act. This is an issue I’ve worked on, with my friend the Republican Senator from Indiana, for the past few years. He has been of great help, a great partner and I appreciate his work. And, of course, Senator Cantwell, our Chairman of the Commerce Committee, and Senator Wicker, our ranking member, have come together and everyone had to give a bit here and there and everywhere, but I think we have a strong bill that should get strong bipartisan support.

And the truth is very simple: the Endless Frontier Act is legislation that our country desperately needs.

For decades after the Second World War, our country led the world in science and technology: from healthcare to computers; from telecommunications to manufacturing to defense. Our workforce brought these innovations to the global economy, and it produced more than half-a-century of prosperity. People in the last half of the last 50 years, from 1950 to 2000, thought the future was going to be better even than the present, and it created the usual American optimism. But things have changed, and one of the things that's changed is years of federal underinvestment in sciences, and they have exposed long-term weak spots, serious weak spots, in our economic competitiveness. This could hurt us dramatically in the next 50 years.

The longer we put off investing in sciences, the likelier it is that other countries—like China, but others too—will overtake America as the global leader in innovation, and that will have profound consequences for our economy, our national security, even the future of human liberty. And it will have a lot to do with whether Americans believe that the future, economically, will be better for them than the present, which is part of the American hallmark and trademark, our sunny optimism, which we must restore. There's been a sourness in the land lately. It is our mission to restore it.

So to take the initiative back, the Endless Frontier Act provides $100 billion for basic research through the National Science Foundation, focusing on the critical technologies of tomorrow—where we have to stay the leader: AI, advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, quantum computing, cybersecurity, 5G, so much more, battery storage. This bill will nurture tech hubs across the country in places where they are not now. We have to spread the wealth.

The clock is ticking on the need to make these critical investments. The Chinese Communist Party has gone to extraordinary lengths to steal a generation of American intellectual property and cheat their way to innovating and economic growth.

We do not, we definitely do not—Democrats, Republicans; liberals, conservatives—do not want a future where the Chinese Communist party dictates the global order and how the world uses 5G, Artificial intelligence, or quantum computing.

That’s why the Endless Frontier Act is resoundingly bipartisan. We already have six co-sponsors from each side—six Democrats, six Republicans—because these issues affect the future of our entire country. I greatly look forward to the good work Chair Cantwell and the Commerce Committee will do to advance the bill this week. 

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