Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On Senate Passage Of The U.S. Innovation And Competition Act

June 8, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Senate proceeding with the vote to pass the U.S. Innovation And Competition Act. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

I, too, would like to thank Senators Cantwell and Wicker; they did an amazing, bipartisan job. Senators Menendez and Risch, another great bipartisan contribution. Just about every member has contributed to this bill. I do want to single out two of my staff members who just slaved over this bill relentlessly, and that is Mike Kuiken and Jon Cardinal. They deserve tremendous kudos for what they did. Without them I don't think we would have had a bill, to be honest with you. And everybody else, all the other staffs who worked so hard.

Now…“Without scientific progress, no amount of achievement in other directions can insure our health, prosperity, and security in the modern world.”

That was Dr. Vannevar Bush, the head of the US Office of Scientific Research, writing in 1945. His report to President Truman was titled “Science: the Endless Frontier”—an inspiration to the legislation we consider today.

In the wake of Dr. Bush’s report, we created the National Science Foundation, funded the national laboratories, split the atom, spliced the gene, landed a man on the moon, and unleashed the internet. We generated 75 years of American prosperity and fostered an innate sense of optimism in the American spirit.

Now, we face a challenge now—in this Century—to replicate the success of the previous one. But the federal government’s commitment to science, unfortunately, has waned. As a percentage of GDP, we spend less than half as much as the Chinese Communist Party on basic research. We rely on foreign nations to supply critical technologies that we invented, like semiconductors. That sunny American optimism has flickered as well.

The world is more competitive now that at any time since the end of the Second World War. If we do nothing, our days as the dominant superpower may be ending. We don’t mean to let those days end on our watch. We don’t mean to see America become a middling nation in this Century. We mean for America to lead it.

Passing this bill— now called the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act—is the moment when the Senate lays the foundation for another century of American leadership. Let me say that again: this bill could be the turning point for American leadership in the 21st Century. And for that reason, this legislation will go down as one of the most significant, bipartisan achievements of the U.S. Senate in recent history.

Around the globe, authoritarian governments believe that squabbling democracies like ours can’t unite around national priorities. They believe that democracy itself is a relic of the past, and that by beating us to emerging technologies, they many of them autocracies will be able to re-shape the world in their own image.

Well, let me tell you something: I believe that they are wrong. I believe that this legislation will enable the United States to out-innovate, out-produce, and out-compete the world in the industries of the future. And I believe that the strongly bipartisan work on this bill has revealed that, in this chamber, we all believe that another American century lies on the horizon.

I urge my colleagues to vote yes.