1. LATEST POLICY
Passed by the House -- Department of Energy Laboratory Modernization and Technology Transfer Act
The House passed H.R. 5120, the Department of Energy Laboratory Modernization and Technology Transfer Act of 2014, on suspension on July 22. The bill is a companion to the America INNOVATES Act (S. 1973), sponsored by Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). Both bills increase the flexibility of the national lab system, allow more flexibility to work with the private sector, and “vertically integrate” the Department of Energy’s energy and science research. H.R. 5120 was introduced by Reps. Hultgran (R-IL-14) and Kilmer (D-WA-6), and is cosponsored by Reps. Fattah (D-PA-2), Johnson (D-TX-30), Lipinski (D-IL-3), Lujan (D-NM-3), Lummis (R-WY), Nunnelee (R-MS-1), Smith (R-TX-21), Swalwell (D-CA-15), and Veasey (D-TX-33).
More: Kilmer press release
Presidential actions -- Improving workforce training
A new White House report, compiled by Vice President Biden, details strategies for improving federal workforce training. The report outlines new actions the Administration will take to strengthen program coordination and accountability, expand investment in apprenticeships and effective on-the-job training, and enable federal agencies to pilot promising new training models. The report includes examples of successful job training programs around the country and a number of steps the administration is taking to build on the progress Congress achieved by passing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). These steps include competitive grants, a job-driven checklist, improved information, and expanding on programs that have been proven to work.
More: Ready to Work report
Approved out of Committee -- Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act
The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology approved H.R. 2996, the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI), out of Committee by voice vote. RAMI is the House companion to Sen. Brown (D-OH) and Blunt’s (R-MO) National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), also known as the Hubs Bill. Both bills bring together industry, academia, and government to accelerate manufacturing innovation and bridge the gap between basic research and product development.
Introduced and voted on -- Bring Jobs Home Act
Sens. Pryor (D-AR), Stabenow (D-MI), and Walsh (D-MT) introduced the Bring Jobs Home Act, which closes a tax loophole that pays for companies for moving jobs overseas. It also provides a 20% tax credit to help companies with the cost of bringing jobs back to America. The bill was cosponsored by Sens. Baldwin (D-WI), Blumenthal (D-CT), Coons (D-DE), Durbin (D-IL), Franken (D-MN), Hagan (D-NC), Klobuchar (D-MN), Markey (D-MA), McCaskill (D-MO), Merkley (D-OR), Reed (D-RI), Rockefeller (D-WV), Schatz (D-HI), Schumer (D-NY), Shaheen (D-NH), Udall (D-CO), Udall (D-NM), Warner (D-VA), and Whitehouse (D-RI). Sen. Stabenow said: "It's outrageous that, right now, American workers are paying through the tax code to ship their own jobs overseas. We need to close this indefensible loophole and instead start rewarding the companies that are doing the right thing and bringing jobs back to America.” The bill was brought to the floor at the end of July, but the Senate failed to agree to cloture to end debate.
More: Stabenow release | Walsh release
Introduced -- COMPETES Act
Sens. Rockefeller (D-WV) and Coons (D-DE) introduced the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014. The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Durbin (D-IL), Nelson (D-FL), Pryor (D-AR), and Markey (D-MA). The COMPETES Act extends and enhances federal investments in cutting-edge research and education. The bill builds on the America COMPETES Act of 2007 and its 2010 reauthorization. The legislation authorizes stable and sustained increases in R&D funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The bill also promotes the economic benefits of promising R&D and addresses agency efforts to increase participation in STEM fields, particularly among women and minorities.
More: Coons release
Introduced -- Manufacturing Universities
Sens. Graham (R-SC) and Coons (D-DE) introduced bipartisan legislation to help schools strengthen their engineering programs to meet the growing demands of 21st century manufacturing. The bill would designate 25 universities as ‘Manufacturing Universities.’ Designated schools would receive $5 million per year for four years to meet specific goals, including focusing engineering programs on manufacturing, building new partnerships with manufacturing firms, growing training opportunities, and fostering manufacturing entrepreneurship. “It’s critical that our schools and universities equip students for success in manufacturing and contribute to the research and development that drives advanced manufacturing,” said Senator Coons.
More: Coons release