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America COMPETES Act of 2022 Is a Much-Needed Bill, but Not Sufficient to Compete with China, Says ITIF

January 26, 2022

WASHINGTON—Following the introduction of the America COMPETES Act of 2022 from the House of Representatives, companion legislation to the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which passed the Senate last June, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, released the following statement from Stephen Ezell, vice president of global innovation policy at ITIF:

While there are several important components in the America COMPETES Act of 2022, compared to USICA, it is not adequately focused on the competitiveness challenge from China. To its credit, the bill incorporates the crucial CHIPS Act and its $52 billion funding, authorizes $45 billion to strengthen supply chains, and incorporates an ITIF proposal for a program to support the expansion of technology hubs in the heartland.

But while these initiatives are important, the legislation is not sufficient to enable the United States to win the advanced technology competition with China. While House COMPETES does laudably call for significant and much-needed funding increases for NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the funding called for over five years is just 60 percent of that included in USICA.* The bill authorizes only two new Manufacturing USA Centers, hardly enough given that China is establishing three times as many centers as the United States will have if this bill passes.

Perhaps most disappointing are the National Science Foundation provisions. The provisions follow closely what the science community wantsmore money for basic research spent on whatever areas scientists want. The proposed new Directorate for Technology and Innovation is funded at half the levels of USICA and has been given an unrealistically broad mission rather than the more targeted mission in USICA. The bill also leaves out funding for DARPA, which USICA doubles.

Ideally, when the House and Senate bring their respective legislation to conference, policymakers will opt for the stronger provisions envisioned in the Senate legislation, especially as funding levels are concerned.

*Updated to restate the gap in funding for NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership.


The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute focusing on the intersection of technological innovation and public policy. Recognized by its peers in the think tank community as the global center of excellence for science and technology policy, ITIF’s mission is to formulate and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress.

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