Young: Endless Frontier Act Will Propel Innovation and Position America to Lead
Click here or the image above to view Senator Young’s speech on the Endless Frontier Act.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) spoke on the Senate Floor regarding the Endless Frontier Act, bipartisan legislation led by Senators Young and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to solidify the United States’ leadership in scientific and technological innovation and combat China through increased investments in emerging technologies. The legislation also transforms the National Science Foundation (NSF) into the National Science and Technology Foundation (NSTF). This new organization will lead these investments in the discovery, creation, and commercialization of technology fields of the future.
“Until now, we have primarily focused on defensive countermeasures to thwart aggression by the Chinese Communist Party: blocking Huawei, tightening export controls, and improving foreign investment rules. These are important and must remain in place. But if America is to lead the world in the 21st century, it is neither realistic nor practical to build an economic iron curtain around China,” said Senator Young. “We are not in a 20th Century cold war. But we can learn and apply lessons from the Cold War. Just as we did in the 20th Century, we must not simply contain a competitor but instead out-innovate and out-grow them.”
“To meet these new challenges, we must once again show the entire world the resiliency and dynamism of the American people, American economy, and the American project itself. And to do this, we must not simply advance again towards the Endless Frontier, but accelerate into it. The Endless Frontier Act, authored by Senator Schumer and I, will provide the rocket fuel for America’s innovators and visionaries. Let us resolve here today to pass it so that this generation of innovators and their children can propel us forward and win the 21st century,” Senator Young added.
The Endless Frontier Act would provide a $100 billion strategic investment in the reformed and renamed National Science and Technology Foundation to bolster science and technology research and development. It would also deliver $10 billion to establish regional tech hubs across the country to launch innovative companies, revive American manufacturing, and create new jobs to jumpstart our local communities. In coming years, the bill would strengthen American power, increase American prosperity, and carry on America’s never-ending quest to continuously improve the world through innovation.
Click here to view Senator Young’s speech.
Full remarks as prepared for delivery:
On a recent Saturday afternoon, the world watched as SpaceX’s Falcon 9 lifted off from American soil, streaked through the sky and sent the Crew Dragon capsule beyond the earth’s atmosphere.
By Sunday morning, its crew was successfully docked to the International Space Station.
The following morning, Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Company announced the start of human testing of a potential treatment for COVID-19 –
Derived from a blood sample of an early survivor of the virus.
Falcon 9, the first rocket to send men to space from America in a decade, was travelling at 10 times the speed of sound.
Lilly’s COVID-19 therapy is moving nearly as fast: it often takes a dozen years to develop a drug.
This one could be available in just months.
Neither happened spontaneously, though.
They are the result of years of savvy technological and scientific investments –
Of partnerships between private industry and government.
Such investments, such partnerships open new horizons in space exploration and disease fighting.
And they show us the endless frontier into which American imagination and ingenuity can carry us.
We Americans have always been drawn to the frontier.
Yes, the natural frontier of wildernesses and unfamiliar territories from which states such as mine sprang.
But also the frontier that bounds what we as humans were once imagined to be capable of accomplishing after our forebearers once we settled across this great continent.
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.
Americans would always rather build a rocket ship than a rest home.
We are driven by a deep need to lift one another, to discover breakthroughs that will lead to the betterment of all mankind
And among the most powerful allies we have in accomplishing this are science and research; and the innovations they fuel…
In the 20th century, Vannevar Bush beautifully captured the essence of our American culture of discovery and innovation when he first coined the memorable term, "Endless Frontier."
Bush was a visionary; an unsung hero of World War II. He was the man who saw the importance of science and discovery in defeating the Axis powers.
As President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s unofficial science adviser, he initiated the Manhattan Project and ensured it received top priority from the highest level of government.
Later, in his 1945 report to the president entitled, "Science, The Endless Frontier," Bush called for an expansion of public support for science and paved the way for the creation of the National Science Foundation.
He believed that America’s security and prosperity depended upon
premarket investment in science and technology.
Basic research, in his words, was "the pacemaker of technological progress".
"New products and new processes do not appear full-grown,” he said.
“They are founded on new principles and new conceptions, which in turn are painstakingly developed by research in the purest realms of science!"
Bush was right. The years that followed proved it.
A National Science Foundation was created.
A space age was ushered in and a space race was won. An Evil Empire defeated.
All in an era of historic prosperity that was only possible because of America’s economic and technological supremacy, itself built on government-funded pre-market research.
Bush originally articulated the importance of science to the nation’s fortunes in a time of peril.
While the challenges we face today are of a different nature, we are again in such a time.
A mysterious virus with no known cure has spread across the globe, killed thousands of Americans and crippled our economy.
A new power competition is underway, and America’s predominant challenger is an unscrupulous authoritarian regime whose values are the inverse of our own.
For proof, witness Beijing’s leveraging of COVID-19 to further its goal of global dominance and authorship of this new century.
To meet these new challenges, we must once again show the entire world the resiliency and dynamism of the American people, American economy, American Spirit, and the American project itself.
And to do this, we must not simply advance again towards the Endless Frontier, but accelerate into it.
The Endless Frontier Act, authored by Senator Schumer and me, will provide the rocket fuel for America’s innovators and visionaries.
Let us resolve here today to pass it so that this generation of American doers and dreamers – and their children – can propel us forward and win the 21st century.
Here is how and why we should act:
The Endless Frontier Act will bolster U.S. leadership in science and tech innovation and boldly increase pre-market investment in emerging tech.
It will provide a $100 billion strategic investment in the National Science Foundation to bolster science and technology research and development.
It will deliver $10 billion to establish regional tech hubs across the country to launch innovative companies, revive American manufacturing, and create new jobs to jumpstart our local communities.
And, in coming years, it will strengthen American power, increase American prosperity, and carry on America’s never-ending quest to continuously improve the world through innovation.
Let us pass this act. If we do, another “Endless Frontier” will be before us - and with it a stronger, freer, more prosperous nation – and a world which free men and women author this new century.
Stronger and Freer
Dating back to the Cold War, after China had developed military might, its leaders focused on science and technology as a means to reorder the global balance of power.
Since then, Beijing has aimed to overtake America – not with weapons, but innovation.
Offensively, China is investing in 5G, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and advanced energy systems -- all of which have the potential to fundamentally change this century's economic and security environment for good or ill.
Defensively, China is shoring up domestic industries while exploiting our economic downturn, and cynically using the pandemic to play the part of concerned global citizen to further its position in the world.
And that’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s public knowledge:
A new report from the Chinese Academy of sciences bluntly observes:
"It is possible to turn the crisis [of COVID-19] into an opportunity -- to increase the trust and the dependence of all countries around the world in 'Made in China.’”
Tellingly, for China the search to find treatments for COVID-19 is not simply a race to stop the virus –
But a race for bragging rights and global superiority.
The CCP is dedicating millions of dollars to research into drug development: Five out of the 10 top vaccine candidates are coming, from, China.
As they have in other fields of research, China has recently ramped up spending on pharmaceutical research, no doubt with an eye on surpassing America in yet another field. The first COVID-19 vaccine could be the key.
If all of these trends continue, China’s overall investments in research and development will surpass our own within. 10. years. – just as their economy becomes larger than our own.
Until now, we have primarily focused on defensive countermeasures to thwart aggression by the CCP: blocking Huawei, tightening export controls, and improving foreign investment rules.
These are important and must remain in place.
But if America is to lead the world in the 21st century, it is neither realistic nor practical to build an economic iron curtain around China.
We are not in a 20th Century cold war.
But we can learn and apply lessons from that Cold War.
Just as we did in the 20th Century, we must not simply contain a competitor but instead out-innovate and out-grow them.
Something else is in the balance here as well.
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.
What becomes of liberty in a world led by such a power?
However imperfectly, every American generation, from the Founding forward, has labored to preserve and pass down the blessings of freedom – here and wherever its friends may be found.
The current generation must carry this on, and provide the world with a choice: between a great power that defends freedom or one that tramples upon it.
But we will be powerless to offer this alternative if we don’t keep pace with China.
And we will not have a shot at this unless we invest in ourselves.
Implementing the Endless Frontier Act will provide that investment.
It will prevent us from being outflanked.
And it will pave the way for a second “American century.”
One of the primary reasons why the 20th century was America’s rather than Russia’s, was because we produced more prosperity.
Wealth is a crucial weapon in a global competition.
Bold investment in pre-market research, like that proposed in our Endless Frontier Act, will generate more of it, and make us a wealthier nation.
The connection is undeniable and historic.
When humans began to apply science and technology to industry in pursuit of new goods and services; of greater efficiency and output, human wealth grew by historic bounds.
Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker has charted this progress and it is staggering.
Human wealth barely advanced in the millennium after the year 1 AD –
And had only doubled a half-millennium later.
Then the Industrial Revolution arrived.
Between 1820 and 1900, the world’s income tripled.
Fifty years later it had tripled again. And again in 25 years.
And again 30 years after that.
This represents a 100 fold expansion of the world’s gross domestic product since the Industrial Revolution – thanks to advancements in science and technology.
And the technologies that ushered in this era were the result of curiosity, experimentation, failure, and ultimately, discovery.
This is the formula for innovation.
And it is something Americans are particularly familiar with.
We are a creative people with a penchant for plunging ahead when we have an idea, and searching for a solution when we see a problem.
It takes courage to be creative.
And in America we encourage and honor that courage.
We celebrate those who try and fail, then courageously get up and dust off our trousers and try again.
We venerate our inventors –
Bell and Edison,
George Washington Carver and Jonas Salk,
The Wright brothers,
Tesla and Einstein,
Page and Brin,
Jobs and Musk.
We know and remember their names, and we benefit daily from their contributions.
Their life’s work is a monument to human potential – and American greatness.
And their work would not have been possible without a hallmark of American culture: breathing space.
Space for the creative process -- the very process required to connect things that already exist that no one ever thought of connecting –
And to take new discoveries and turn them into new products and services.
When we join research with American creativity, we do more than produce faster cars, and TV’s with clearer pictures.
We do more than generate material wealth.
You see, our innovators are part of something far more profound –
An endless pursuit of human knowledge and progress, a quest that fulfills our deepest human needs as a people.
It is our “built-in human belief” — in the words of my friend Walter Russell Mead —“that through change we encounter the transcendent and the divine.”
Passing the Endless Frontier Act will keep this quest going; and the quest will make our lives richer in so many ways.
The image of a Falcon 9 taking off, the orange streak of its engines cutting the blue sky, sparked a memory dear to many Americans.
Over 10.3 million people world-wide watched the launch.
For many, it was no doubt a reminder of an era when rockets regularly setting out for space from that very same station was an awe-inspiring symbol of American optimism and accomplishment...
There were images too from Indianapolis.
There, Lilly’s scientists rushed cases containing the company’s potential COVID-19 treatment to the airport and sent them on their way to patients for trials.
For those who saw these images, they inspired hope and amazement – hope that we can soon stop this virus, and amazement that our innovators have moved so quickly to find remedies.
These are both inspiring moments for all Americans, ones that transcend so many of the differences that threaten to divide us.
They show us, and the world, what America is still capable of.
They reveal the endless frontier still before us.
Let us come together now.
Let us accelerate boldly into the Endless Frontier.
When life resumes as normal, this generation of Americans must not be content with merely recovering our losses.
Instead, we must push ourselves to lead.
Now is the time to pass the Endless Frontier Act –
To strengthen U.S. leadership in science and tech innovation –
And to dramatically increase public investment in emerging technologies.
Let us choose to lead for ourselves and for our children.
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