Bennet Applauds Senate Approval of U.S. Innovation and Competition Act

Bipartisan Legislation Includes Vital Investments in Emerging Technologies, Semiconductors, and 5G

Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet applauded the U.S. Senate’s passage of the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA). The legislation will invest in emerging technologies, shore up critical supply chains, and bolster America’s economic competitiveness and national security. The bill passed the U.S. Senate 68-32.

“For too long, Washington has been asleep at the switch while Beijing has pursued a ‘China First’ policy to write the global rules of the road from technology to trade,” said Bennet. “Today’s legislation provides a comprehensive, bipartisan response that invests in technologies vital to our competitiveness and security, while bolstering America’s global leadership and cracking down on the Chinese government’s mercantilist trade policies, intellectual property theft, and attacks on human rights. And by including $1.5 billion to unlock the benefits of 5G in line with legislation I introduced last year, the bill underscores America’s commitment  to develop secure technologies that will underpin economic growth.”

USICA is comprehensive legislation that authorizes nearly $200 billion in spending and includes the Endless Frontier Act, the Strategic Competition Act, and the Meeting the China Challenge Act. The bill also appropriates $52 billion to fund the CHIPS for America Act and $1.5 billion for O-RAN to promote U.S. domestic semiconductor manufacturing and leadership in 5G.  

  • The Endless Frontier Act. This authorizes nearly $120 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, along with other efforts. It provides $52 billion in funding for NSF’s core research and activities, along with $29 billion for a new Technology and Innovation Directorate to fund R&D in 10 key technology focus areas, such as artificial intelligence and quantum science. The bill also includes nearly $17 billion for the Department of Energy to support research in the technology focus areas, along with funding to bolster America’s STEM workforce and promote technology innovation, manufacturing, and job creation across the country.
  • Funding for Semiconductors and 5G. USICA includes $52 billion to fund the CHIPS for America Act, which was authorized in last year’s annual defense spending bill. This funding will primarily support grants through the Department of Commerce to bolster America’s domestic semiconductors manufacturing capacity. The bill also includes $1.5 billion for O-RAN, a virtualized approach to 5G wireless networks that can provide credible alternatives to Huawei and ZTE. The funding mirrors the USA Telecommunications Act, which Bennet introduced last year to spur ‘leap-ahead’ technologies in the U.S. mobile broadband market and support multilateral cooperation to promote secure and trusted telecommunications technologies.  
  • The Strategic Competition Act. This draws on a bill Bennet co-sponsored to establish a dedicated office at the Department of State to promote cooperation among democratic countries to set international standards and norms for emerging technologies. The Strategic Competition Act also includes provisions to promote cooperation with allies and partners; restore American leadership of international and regional organizations; address China’s predatory economic practices; and hold countries accountable for forced labor and human rights violations.  
The Meeting the China Challenge Act. This includes provisions to strengthen sanctions against Chinese violations related to Hong Kong, human rights, cyber espionage, illicit trade with North Korea, and fentanyl production and distribution, among other issues. It also provides for broad mandatory sanctions on Chinese actors engaged in cyberattacks or intellectual property theft against the U.S., along with a review of export controls for items that could be used to support human rights abuses in China.