Bipartisan Innovation ActAs Congress returns from a two-week district work period, over 100 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and both chambers are preparing for negotiations on a global competition and innovation bill that will include critical funding for domestic semiconductor manufacturing as well as research and development.  

This process, known as a Conference Committee, occurs when the House and the Senate pass two different versions of a bill and then need to resolve the differences. In April 2021, the Senate passed the Endless Frontier Act, and in February 2022, the House passed the America COMPETES Act. Now, both bills will head to the conference committee, which is comprised of members of Congress appointed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Because of the numerous provisions included in the two bills, there are several committees of jurisdiction, and therefore, a multitude of members who have been appointed to the Conference Committee, which totals 107 bipartisan, bicameral lawmakers (known as “conferees”). The legislation to be considered by the Conference Committee is informally referred to as the Bipartisan Innovation Act (BIA).  

AEM has been working around the clock to build bipartisan support for a bipartisan bill since the two measures were introduced last year, and the association is stepping up its advocacy efforts as the negotiation process kicks off. AEM’s Kip Eideberg penned an op-ed in The Hill that urged lawmakers to “take the threat that China poses to our economy seriously” by passing a bipartisan bill. He has also been hitting the airwaves to discuss the merits of the legislation, most recently with the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network, RFD-TV, and Iowa Starting Line.  

As soon as the conferees were announced, AEM sent a letter up to Capitol Hill highlighting the industry’s priorities for the global competition and innovation bill: 

  • Incentivizing domestic semiconductor manufacturing and R&D investment, 
  • Creating a transparent Section 301 tariff exclusion process, 
  • Strengthening America’s critical supply chains, and 
  • Investing in the next generation of skilled workers.  

AEM also joined a coalition of public and private universities and business leaders in a letter to conferees highlighting the need for federal investment in university research and development and technological development.  

The association will continue its outreach and engagement as the members of Congress shape this important legislation to ensure that the final bill includes critical measures that will enhance U.S. innovation leadership and global competitiveness, including with China. 

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