Young’s bill to boost science and tech funding passes

(Saige Driver / 1190 WOWO)

WASHINGTON (Network Indiana): A push to re-up the federal government’s commitment to back scientific progress and competitiveness with China has cleared one chamber on Capitol Hill.

The Endless Frontier Act, authored by Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), has passed the United States Senate now called the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA). The vote was 68-32 with the 32 naysayers being 31 Republicans and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Indiana’s other senator, Mike Braun, was also among those who voted against it.

17 Republicans joined every Democrat in voting in favor of the bill.

“This piece of legislation, yes it indeed is countering the threat that the Chinese Communist Party presents to this country,” Young said on the Senate floor before the final vote. “Let’s use this as an opportunity to become a better version of ourselves.”

With all amendments added to the bill, it will use $250 billion in federal spending to boost research into new sciences and technologies.

The key point as presented by Young in the infancy of the bill when it was reintroduced in April is that it will foster partnerships, known as regional hubs in the bill, between private business and post-secondary schools in order to help innovate and tech new technologies and sciences to students and future workers.

All this in an effort to keep a leg up on China, according to Young.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was a big supporter of the bill in a show of bipartisanship from Democrats. After Young’s address to lawmakers, Schumer focused more on the optics of the bill to foreign governments that he says are committed to disrupting U.S. leaders by exacerbating the political divide the nation is facing.

“This legislation will go down as one of the more significant bipartisan achievements of the U.S. Senate in recent history,” Schumer said. “Around the world, authoritarian governments believe that squabbling democracies, like ours, can’t unite. And by beating us to emerging technologies they will be able to reshape the world in their own image. I believe they are wrong.”

The bill now heads to the U.S. House for consideration. It’s expected to be voted on next Tuesday. President Biden has said that if the bill reaches his desk he will sign it into law.

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