U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement after the committee approved S. 3084, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, by voice vote. The bipartisan legislation, of which Thune is a cosponsor, would maximize science research by reducing administrative burdens for researchers, enhancing agency oversight, improving research dissemination, and reforming federal science agencies to increase the impact of taxpayer-funded research.
“The committee’s passage of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act puts important enhancements for federal research and our economic competitiveness one step closer to becoming law,” said Thune. “Today’s vote will be welcome news for universities throughout South Dakota as well as other research institutions like the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead.”
S. 3084 would reaffirm and update the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research upon which South Dakota research universities rely, improve coordination and planning of federal investments in high energy research at institutions like the Sanford Underground Research Facility, and update the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership program to better meet the needs of South Dakota small- and medium-sized businesses.
In June 2015, Thune and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking member of the Commerce Committee, established an Innovation and Competitiveness Working Group, which convened a series of bipartisan roundtables to gather input from the U.S. science and research community. Public feedback received by the working group was used in part to craft this legislation.In addition to its investment in scientific research, S. 3084 would reauthorize the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, both of which are under the Commerce Committee’s jurisdiction.