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Schumer’s Plan Would Dramatically Increase U.S. Investment In Manufacturing, Research & Development, and Workforce Training To Keep U.S. Competitive With China And Other Countries

Schumer’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act to Make Bold Investments In Semiconductor Manufacturing, Strategically Important R&D And Regional Tech Hubs That Could Bolster WNY’s Key Assets Like M&T Tech Hub, UB, Buffalo Manufacturing Works, And Countless Local Businesses

Schumer: WNY Can Help The U.S. Stay Ahead Of International Competitors In The Most Consequential Race of The 21st Century

Standing at the new M&T Tech Hub at Seneca One Tower in Downtown Buffalo, and flanked by local business and economic development leaders, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer re-upped his push for the Senate to pass his bold, bipartisan initiative to propel American leadership in science and technology into the twenty first century when it returns to session next week. Schumer’s $52B plan includes passing the Endless Frontier Act, now part of the broader U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, and providing $52 billion in federal investment to fully fund the implementation of the bipartisan semiconductor provisions he passed in last year’s defense bill. This, Schumer said, would dramatically increase U.S. investment in domestic advanced manufacturing and of semiconductors, research & development of strategically important technologies like semiconductors, while also establishing regional tech hubs across the country with a new $10 billion program. These investments could help lead to the creation of new jobs and jumpstart innovation across Western New York. Senator Schumer said these new investments would both supercharge work by the region’s key economic development drivers, including M&T Bank and the University at Buffalo, to invest in new technological research and development that spur new jobs and businesses as well as support the region’s semiconductor manufacturers like Akoustis and attract new semiconductor factories to the region’s STAMP business park.    

“We must immediately address several dangerous weak spots in our country’s competitiveness that threaten America’s global technological leadership. We’re in an all-out race for the jobs of the future and to protect our country’s global technological edge and it’s time to put Western New York’s top-tier workforce and tech community on the frontlines” said Senator Schumer. “This legislation will enhance American competitiveness with China and other countries by building up places across Western New York to lead in the innovation economy, creating high-tech American manufacturing jobs, strengthening R&D, and investing in workforce training capabilities.”

Schumer added, “The stakes are enormous. If we do not invest now in the research, development, and manufacturing of technologies of the future, we risk falling behind in the race with China and other global competitors, putting at risk U.S. jobs, intellectual property, and national security.”

Today, the United States’ position as the unequivocal global leader in scientific and technological ingenuity and innovation is under pressure from China and is eroding. U.S. competitiveness and national security are being threatened by decades of U.S. underinvestment in research, manufacturing, and workforce development, coupled with foreign competitors stealing American intellectual property and aggressively investing to dominate the key technology fields of today and of the future. Schumer said that without a significant and sustained increase in investment in research, education and training, technology transfer and entrepreneurship, manufacturing, and the broader U.S. innovation ecosystem across the nation, it is only a matter of time before America’s global competitors overtake the U.S. in terms of technological primacy, threatening national security and economic prosperity.

Schumer noted that Western New York is ideally situated to take advantage of the provisions in the new legislation based on the presence of longstanding Western New York institutions like M&T Bank, UB, and Buffalo Manufacturing Works. The goal of developing a new, modern tech ecosystem is a shared goal of the new state-of-the-art M&T Technology Hub a facility which will ultimately house more than 1500 employees in Downtown Buffalo, including 1,000 new technology hires charged with creating innovative new technologies and spurring next-generation entrepreneurship. The University at Buffalo, meanwhile, has played a key role in the development of technologies in the fields of green energy and bioinformatics, and recently opened its own Innovation Hub in Downtown Buffalo to pair researchers and students with entrepreneurs.      

Schumer’s plan is in the process of debate on the floor of the Senate and includes his ‘Endless Frontier Act’. The plan would invest in three main areas – domestic advanced manufacturing; research, development, entrepreneurship, and workforce training in strategically important technologies like semiconductors; and establishing regional technology hubs through federal investment in economic development across the country to be global tech centers.

Details on the Endless Frontier Act:

The Endless Frontier Act, as reported by the Senate Commerce Committee, seeks to maintain and build on U.S. science and technology leadership through investments in research and development and strengthening regional economic development, manufacturing, and supply chains. The legislation would authorize roughly $120 billion over 5 years for activities at the National Science Foundation (“NSF”), Department of Commerce (“DOC”), the Department of Energy (“DOE”), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”). The Endless Frontier Act advances priorities including to reduce undue geographic concentration of R&D funding, encourage broader participation of populations underrepresented in STEM, and increase collaboration across federal agencies and with non-governmental partners on innovation. Crucially, the Endless Frontier Act helps to bridge the gap of innovative technological breakthroughs happening at America’s premier research institutions by bringing those breakthrough to the applied science and commercialization space to benefit our countries growing innovative advancements.

Notable Provisions:

  • Technology Directorate: The Endless Frontier Act would create a new Directorate of Technology and Innovation at the NSF to support research and technology development in key technology focus areas, such as artificial intelligence and quantum science, in order to strengthen the global leadership of the United States in innovation. Major activities would include funding research and development at collaborative institutes, supporting academic technology transfer and intellectual property protection, establishing technology testbeds, and awarding scholarships and fellowships to build the relevant workforce. The Directorate would be authorized at $29 billion over fiscal years 2022 to 2026, including a transfer of $2.9B to existing NSF divisions to support basic research collaboration.
  • NSF Research and Development Programs: The Endless Frontier Act would authorize $52 billion over fiscal years 2022 to 2026 for existing NSF activities, representing a seven percent increase each year. The legislation would also create a Chief Diversity Officer at NSF and increase STEM education to enhance the domestic STEM workforce. The legislation also incorporates a series of new programs, including programs for precision agriculture, rural STEM education, quantum information science, skilled technical education, critical minerals, and bioeconomy R&D.
  • Regional Technology Hubs: The Endless Frontier Act creates a regional technology hub program at DOC to support regional economic development in innovation. Technology hubs would carry out workforce development activities, business and entrepreneur development activities, technology maturation activities, and infrastructure activities related to the technology development. The technology hubs program would be authorized at $10 billion over fiscal years 2022 to 2026.
  • Manufacturing: The Endless Frontier Act would authorize close to a quadrupling of the DOC Manufacturing Extension Partnership and create a new track within the program for public benefit activities like workforce development and cybersecurity services. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership would be funded at $2.4B over fiscal years 2022 to 2026. The substitute would also authorize the Manufacturing USA program, at $1.2B over fiscal years 2022 to 2026, and add workforce and coordination provisions.
  • Supply Chain Resiliency: The Endless Frontier Act would establish a supply chain resiliency program at the Department of Commerce to work with the private sector, for the purpose of identifying and recommending opportunities to mitigate or address supply chain vulnerabilities in the United States and in allied and partner countries. It would also amend the recently-enacted CHIPS Act to provide $2 billion in incentives for domestic production of mature semiconductor technologies, such as for the automotive industry.

Schumer’s plan also includes $52 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to implement the bipartisan federal semiconductor manufacturing and R&D provisions he passed into law last year as part of the annual defense bill. An additional $1.5 billion is provided for implementation of implement the USA Telecommunications Act that was also passed as part of last year’s NDAA to foster U.S. innovation in the race for 5G.

“EWI applauds Senator Schumer’s leadership in advancing the bipartisan Endless Frontier Act,” said Henry Cialone, President and CEO of EWI/Buffalo Manufacturing Works. To compete on a global scale, manufacturers must be able to make effective use of emerging technologies such as additive manufacturing, advanced metal stamping with servo technology, and next generation nondestructive inspection – innovations that drive productivity, quality, and reduce cost. EWI enthusiastically supports this bill because it focuses on increasing U.S. manufacturing competitiveness through innovation and investing in the manufacturing workforce.

The Endless Frontier Act represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to turbo charge scientific and technological innovation in the United States,” said Dottie Gallagher, President & CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “Buffalo Niagara’s economy will benefit tremendously in repositioning America as the world’s true technology leader with a critical focus on manufacturing, research, and workforce development.  The Buffalo Niagara Partnership supports this bipartisan legislation and strongly advocates for its passage.  The BNP commends Senator Schumer for leading this effort.”

As a bank for communities, we understand that economic development and prosperity requires building an “ecosystem” that attracts, retains, develops and engages modern talent, creating sustainable and equitable engines for economic growth,” said Rene F. Jones, Chairman and CEO of M&T Bank. “This is especially true in small and mid-tier cities, where we serve and across the country. In cities like Buffalo and Rochester, we are building a new technology hub and hosting a growing number of innovative entrepreneurial businesses that support long-term competitiveness. The Endless Frontier Act sponsored by Senators Schumer and Young has bipartisan support and backing from the business community because it helps the United States regain our position as the world’s leader in technology and innovation, while building out economic opportunities that are inclusively distributed across the country.”

Schumer added, “These investments are key to preserving America’s position on the world stage as a current and future technological leader. In the coming days, I will push for final Senate passage of this legislation to ensure that the U.S.’ hand at home and abroad is as strong as possible as we compete with China on all fronts.”