April 1, 2021
Council Statement on the American Jobs Plan
Washington, DC, April 1, 2021—America has for too long relied on dwindling dividends from infrastructure investments made more than a half century ago. Today, the U.S. risks losing its position as the dominant global innovation leader. That’s why the Council on Competitiveness and our unique combination of CEOs, university presidents, labor leaders and national laboratory directors have called on policymakers to make bold new investments in our infrastructure that supports America’s research and innovation enterprise.
In the Competing in the Next Economy report, the Council’s National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers recommended federal investments in a range of nationally shared innovation infrastructure — from high-performance computing centers to advanced manufacturing prototyping and development facilities. Investments like these would deliver pathbreaking discoveries, increase productivity, and drive enormous economic growth. Just this week in my Forbes.com article on the need fix crumbling U.S. innovation infrastructure, I highlighted the Commission’s recommendation to invest $40 billion to bolster and modernize the United States research enterprise.
Fortunately, a growing group of bipartisan lawmakers have heard our recommendations and are ready to act. Now, President Biden has announced his ambitious American Jobs Plan. This potentially historic and transformative plan mirrors many of the Commission’s recommendations for creating greater innovation capacity and resilience within our national infrastructure network.
Key investments identified in the American Jobs Plan that will advance U.S. research and innovation infrastructure include:
- $100 billion to deliver affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to every American.
- $50 billion to enhance the world-class capabilities of the National Science Foundation.
- $40 billion to upgrade research infrastructure in laboratories across the country, including brick-and-mortar facilities as well as computing capabilities and networks.
- $30 billion in additional funding for R&D that will spur innovation and job creation, especially in rural areas.
- $15 billion for creating up to 200 centers of excellence that serve as research incubators at HBCUs and other MSIs to provide graduate fellowships and other opportunities for underserved populations.
- $10 billion to advance R&D at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other minority serving institutions (MSIs).
The nation deserves a healthy debate over the details of President Biden’s sweeping proposal, and other proposed bills that address America’s competitiveness. And there must be a recognition that research and infrastructure are only part of the complete innovation ecosystem. Tax policy, regulation and government institutions must also be optimized to respond to new technological, economic and global realities. Yet, the Council is encouraged by the growing realization among leaders from both political parties that in our research and innovation enterprise will have incredible, long-term, positive multiplier effects for our economic vitality, national security, and prosperity.