NEW HAMPSHIRE – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, Chair of the Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight Subcommittee, held a virtual roundtable today with New Hampshire business and education leaders about the need to boost U.S. competitiveness in order to outcompete China and strengthen U.S. national security. Senator Hassan is working to pass the United States Innovation and Competition Act, a comprehensive, bipartisan bill that will invest more than $200 billion in domestic research, development, and manufacturing. The bill is expected to be voted on in the Senate later this month.
During the virtual discussion, Senator Hassan was joined by Zenagui Brahim, President and CEO of NH Manufacturing Extension Partnership; Tim Dining, Vice President and General Manager of Jewell Instruments LLC; Rick Henderson, Business System Manager of Tecomet; Steve Papa, Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Parallel Wireless, Marc Sedam, Vice Provost for Innovation & New Ventures at UNH; and Marian McCord, Senior Vice Provost for Research, Economic Engagement and Outreach at UNH.
“We’ve been, as a country, on the forefront of innovation, but we also know that in a modern economy, we are going to have to continue to invest in the kind of technology that helps strengthen our global leadership,” said Senator Hassan. “There is a real need to take decisive action so that we can outcompete China, and we know that we have to give our innovators the tools to make sure that they are free to do what they do best – which is to be cutting edge and to continue to take the lead in the global economy. What we are focused on in this bill is making sure that we are boosting domestic R&D and manufacturing, securing supply chains that are so critical to our national security and our economy, and supporting good paying jobs and meaningful, long-lasting economic growth.”
President and CEO of New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Zenagui Brahim, spoke about how the bill would help make key investments in advanced manufacturing. Both Tim Dining of Jewell Instruments and Rick Henderson of Tecomet emphasized the need for policies, such as those included in the United States Innovation and Competition Act, to counter China and the growing threat that China poses to the United States’ manufacturing supply chains.
Senator Hassan also spoke with University of New Hampshire’s Vice Provost for Innovation & New Ventures and Senior Vice Provost for Research, Economic Engagement and Outreach, about the relationship between outcompeting China and investing in America’s workforce through research and development (R&D) efforts, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, and support for entrepreneurship and innovation.
“It is great to be here. Thank you for organizing this and for your advocacy around these issues,” said Steve Papa of Parallel Wireless. “The challenge of China’s economic nationalism is very severe. China is very intent on taking over our very high margin semiconductor industry, which you are well aware of, and they are actively tilting the playing field…. The good news is that this sort of bill starts us fighting back at the tilting of the playing field.”
The United States Innovation and Competition Act (formerly the Endless Frontier Act) is comprehensive legislation that will strengthen national security and build American competitiveness for the 21st century by investing more than $200 billion in research and development, manufacturing, and workforce development. The bill identifies key technology areas critical to U.S. security and the economy and supports STEM education at the primary, collegiate, and postgraduate levels. The legislation also provides more tools to confront and respond to China, improves mechanisms like sanctions and export controls, and builds out more soft power options for the U.S. to counter Chinese domestic and foreign influence.
Senator Hassan is also leading efforts to include key priorities in the bill, such as:
- Senator Hassan’s amendment to investigate other countries’ unfair trade practices that impact critical domestic supply chains and U.S. workers
- Bipartisan legislation Senator Hassan introduced with Senator John Thune (R-SD) to strengthen national security by advancing U.S. capabilities in quantum technology and establishing a more comprehensive approach to workforce development
- Bipartisan legislation Senator Hassan introduced with Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) to help ensure that the Department of Homeland Security is identifying and addressing risks to critical infrastructure. Critical infrastructure includes systems that support the economy, public health, and national security — for instance nuclear reactors, electrical grids, banks, and hospitals
- A version of Senator Hassan’s bipartisan Fast Track To and Through College Act with Senator Todd Young (R-IN) to expand access to college-level classes for high school students
The passage of the United States Innovation and Competition Act builds on Senator Hassan’s ongoing efforts to outcompete China and invest in U.S. research and manufacturing. In February, Senator Hassan and a bipartisan group of her colleagues discussed strengthening the U.S. supply chain with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. In addition, Senator Hassan has worked to strengthen research and development in the U.S. by introducing the bipartisan American Innovation and Jobs Act to support R&D investments by innovative startups and by established companies making major R&D investments, which could help the U.S. ramp up its production of key technologies like semiconductors.