Advocating for Competitiveness and Innovation Legislation

Last week, the Energy Sciences Coalition and the Coalition for International Education sent letters to Capitol Hill in support of a final competitiveness and innovation legislative package. As mentioned in previous Washington Insights & Highlights Newsletters, the Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USCIA) in June 2021 and the House of Representatives passed the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (COMPETES) in February 2022. Now that these bills have been passed, the two chambers are expected to announce a conference committee and begin negotiations to reconcile the two competitiveness bills.

In preparation for the commencement of conference committee negotiations, the Energy Sciences Coalition (ESC), of which CGS is a member, sent a  letter emphasizing the importance of growing core research in the physical sciences at the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The ESC letter also underscores the importance of federal investments in new research and emerging technology initiatives to maintain U.S. leadership. The DOE-Office of Science sponsors graduate education programs, which are integral to the United States remaining at the forefront of energy technology development and innovation.

The ESC letter makes the following request of the soon-to-be-announced House and Senate Conferees, “We believe final legislation should support several key aspects critical to the future success of DOE and in particular the Office of Science: 1) growing core research in the physical sciences and other Office of Science-supported scientific disciplines, 2) investing in new research and emerging technology initiatives to maintain U.S. leadership, 3) accelerating the construction of world-class scientific user facilities and 4) expanding workforce development programs.”

The Coalition for International Education (CIE) letter urged the inclusion of legislative language concerning Title VI International Education programs in the final competitiveness and innovation package. The Department of Education Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs support graduate students, including the Fulbright-Hays–Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad program and the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships program.

The CIE letter encourages House and Senate Conferees to include language from USCIA in a final competitiveness and innovation legislative package. The letter says, “While we appreciate that both bills include core provisions for HEA-Title VI reauthorization, we continue to strongly support, and respectfully urge the conferees to adopt, the bipartisan S. 1260 USICA version of the Title VI reauthorization, as it contains all the provisions important to include in the final bill. The Senate version most closely mirrors the bipartisan Advancing International and Foreign Language Education Act introduced in each of the 115th, 116th and 117th Congresses and broadly supported by the U.S. international higher education community.”