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Manufacturing and Innovation

The hallmark of our nation's economy has long been that anyone with creativity, ambition, and a good work ethic can realize their dreams and move America forward. Yet while our culture of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit remain strong, the United States faces stiff competition abroad.

Revitalizing American manufacturing. The manufacturing sector is critical to the economy, supporting nearly 40 million direct and indirect jobs in the United States, which represents over one-third of the U.S. workforce—more than any other sector. That’s why Senator Coons is the co-founder of the Senate Competitiveness Caucus and the Manufacturing Jobs for America initiative in the Senate to rally bipartisan support for legislation that would help manufacturers create jobs.

In the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Senator Coons secured his Enhance Cybersecurity for Small Manufacturers Act to help small manufacturers in the defense supply chain assess and eliminate cybersecurity risks. He has also championed a number of bipartisan, pro-manufacturing bills including The Made in America Deduction Enhancement (MADE) Act and the Invent and Manufacture in America Act. Through his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Coons has fought for funding for federal programs that support the manufacturing sector, including the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the Manufacturing USA Institutes, and the Manufacturing Engineering Education Program. 

Sustained commitment to R&D. Investments in R&D are vital to the U.S. economy. One study of 15 leading economies showed that every $1 investment in R&D generates $20 in economic activity.

The very first bill Senator Coons introduced in the Senate made the R&D tax credit permanent, and it became law in 2015. In 2018, his Support Startup Businesses Act also became law and allows Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology (STTR) grant awardees to use a portion of that funding for activities such as market validation, intellectual property protection, market research, and business model development.

Senator Coons understands that the federal government has an important role to play in supporting basic research. This is why he continues to work to reauthorize and fund investments in basic science and technology through programs such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy’s science research programs. He also advocates for continued innovation in our support for science, such as the use of crowdsourcing and citizen science methods within the federal government and support for new, sustainable approaches to chemical innovation and production.

Senator Coons also believes that policies that support technology transfer and commercialization of basic research are a critical component of federal support for innovation. This is why Senator Coons continues to support programs such as the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps), which support scientists in bringing their federally-funded research into the marketplace. He is also a strong supporter of our world-renowned national laboratory system, including policies that help them partner more easily with the private sector.