UPDATED 10:37 AM PT — Friday, June 12, 2020
Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) is urging the Senate to bolster America’s ability to outcompete China in the 21st Century and retain its position as the world’s leading nation.
While speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, the Republican lawmaker from Indiana called on his colleagues to pass the ‘Endless Frontier Act,’ which is a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by both Young and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
In doing so, he hearkened back to America’s long-standing tradition of fostering scientific and technological innovation, which is a tradition he claims is a key component in the nation’s drive to promote its values of freedom and prosperity around the globe.
“Americans see the heavens and don’t simply wonder what they hold…we see loved ones grow sick and we don’t just resign ourselves to the prognosis, we create cures,” said Young. “We are driven by a deep need to lift one another, to discover breakthroughs that will lead to the betterment of all mankind.”
Yet the 21st Century, the senator argued, confronted Americans with new unprecedented challenges that have threatened its position in the world system and its ability to lead. Chief among them, he stated, is the rising threat posed by China’s rise to prominence on the world stage.
“A new power competition is underway and America’s predominant challenger is an unscrupulous authoritarian regime whose values are the inverse of our own,” he stated.
The ‘Endless Frontier Act’ is primarily a response to this challenge, Young asserted, and would provide the tools to buttress American efforts at outcompeting China in the fields of science and technology. The bill would provide a $100 billion strategic investment to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase investment in pre-market technological research.
It would also apportion an additional $10 billion for the establishment of tech hubs across the country, which Young said will lead to a resurgence in American manufacturing and increased job creation. He claimed these measures are key in allowing America to remain at the world’s head and preserve democratic values likely to flounder in a world led by China.
“China longs to become the world’s leader, but lacks the attachment to human rights and dignity required of those who seek to fill that role,” he stated. “What becomes of liberty in a world led by such a power?”
The bill would also restructure the way research is funded by the NSF rather than giving free rein to scientists to pick their own research goals. It would direct funding to specific key technologies such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence, with specific goals for global market impact.
This more zeroed-in approach has been praised by several industry leaders and research institutions. In doing so, Young asserted it would be vastly beneficial not just to America, but to the rest of the world.
“Let us pass this act,” he urged. “If we do, another “Endless Frontier” will be before us, and with it a stronger, freer, more prosperous nation and a world in which free men and women author this new century.”