After talks in the Senate stalled in December 2021 regarding the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act, it seemed any chance of passage in 2022 was slim at best. Yet there is now optimism in the Senate regarding a vote on a slimmed down version of budget reconciliation before the August recess. The House-passed Build Back Better Act included many provisions beneficial to graduate education, including $40 billion for higher education and workforce training programs. As well as expanding the research capacity at U.S. colleges and universities.
If the Senate were to pass a version of the Build Back Better Act, any chance of completing Joint House-Senate Conference Committee negotiations on the Bipartisan Innovation Act would get slimmer. As mentioned in previous Washington Insights & Highlights Newsletters, the conference committee met in May to begin negotiations on the Senate-passed USICA bill and the House-passed America COMPETES bill. Both bills would authorize funding for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and provide subsidies to the semiconductor industry to restart domestic production of semiconductor chips. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and senate republicans have decided to hold-up any movement on the Bipartisan Innovation Act, if Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) moves the Build Back Better Act.