WASHINGTON - The president yesterday signed into law the bipartisan American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA) (S. 3084). AICA represents a bicameral, bipartisan agreement that includes nine House Science Committee bills that passed the full House over the last two years, including H.R. 1806, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015.
Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “I want to congratulate House Research and Technology Subcommittee Chair Barbara Comstock and Vice Chair John Moolenaar as well as Oversight Subcommittee Chair Barry Loudermilk and Vice Chair Darin LaHood on enacting the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act into law. This important piece of legislation was the last bill passed in the 114th Congress, and is the result of a four-year effort to strengthen and reform agencies and programs that administer basic research. AICA increases U.S. competitiveness while creating jobs for hardworking Americans and will help to spur new businesses and industries.
“Reforms to National Science Foundation research facility construction and National Institute of Standards and Technology programs and campus security are also key elements in the bill that will improve the impact of taxpayer-funded research. The bill also includes federal research regulatory reform, interagency IT and cybersecurity R&D reform, and NSF merit review reform to include my ‘national interest’ criteria. On the whole, Americans will see improved accountability and transparency with a reduction in administrative burden on researchers as a result of this legislative effort. It has been an honor to help shepherd this bill across the finish line, and to see this meaningful legislation signed into law.”
Sen. John Thune (R-SD): “This bill is a victory for science and economic competitiveness. I applaud my colleagues in the House and Senate who worked across party lines to thoughtfully develop this bill and advance it into law.”
This legislation incorporates Chairman Smith’s national interest criterion as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) merit review process, which ensures transparency and accountability by requiring a non-technical justification of all federally funded research projects. S. 3084 also reforms NSF major research facility construction to prevent future nine-figure cost overruns and prohibit use of taxpayer funds for liquor, lobbyists and foreign travel.
In addition, this legislation strengthens cybersecurity research and IT coordination at all federal agencies. The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act authorizes and encourages private-public science prizes to solve important science and technology problems. It also encourages broader participation in STEM studies and careers.
This legislation incorporates House-passed provisions from the following bills:
- H.R. 1806, America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 introduced by Chairman Lamar Smith
- H.R. 1119, Research and Development Efficiency Act introduced by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.)
- H.R. 1156, International Science and Technology Cooperation Act introduced by Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.)
- H.R. 1162, Science Prize Competition Act introduced by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.)
- H.R. 1764, United States Chief Technology Officer Act introduced by Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.)
- H.R. 1924, Hispanic Opportunity Program in Education and Science Act introduced by Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY)
- H.R. 3293, Scientific Research in the National Interest Act introduced by Chairman Lamar Smith
- H.R. 5049, NSF Major Facility Research Reform Act introduced by Rep. Barry Loudermilk
- H.R. 5312, Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Modernization Act of 2016 introduced by Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.)
- H.R. 5636, National Institute of Standards and Technology Campus Security Act introduced by Rep. Barry Loudermilk
- H.R. 5639, National Institute of Standards and Technology Improvement Act introduced by Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.)
For a general summary of each title of S. 3084, click here.