Washington, DC – In response to the House of Representatives’ passage of the historic America COMPETES Act of 2022, Century Foundation senior fellow Andrew Stettner and fellow Michelle Burris issued the following statement:

“House passage of the America COMPETES Act puts the United States one step closer to making our supply chains stronger, America’s manufacturing workforce more diverse, higher education better funded, and America’s economy stronger—for everyone. For decades, federal support for manufacturing has badly lagged behind international competitors, and 2022 is poised to see genuine efforts to close the gap in technology and advanced manufacturing. This is a critical matter for many communities, from rural areas to urban communities of color, that have long relied on manufacturing as a source of well-paying jobs and opportunities to build wealth. 

“We strongly urge the House and Senate to convene a bipartisan conference committee as quickly as possible and send this innovative bill to President Biden for his signature.

“There are a number of important ways that this bill advances racial equity, supports manufacturing, and modernizes the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act. Specifically, we applaud inclusion of the following provisions: 

  • The $52 billion in funding to address the shortage of semiconductors that is pushing up inflation, the bill’s critical investments in a new supply chain resilience program, the new directorate focused on applied science at the National Science Foundation, and expanded resources for longstanding programs such as the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
  • The bill’s inclusion of $7 billion for regional technology hubs, similar to provisions in the version of the bill passed by the Senate last year. The House language, however, would also ensure that at least one hub is headquartered in a region with institutes of higher education, including minority serving institutions, and ensure the program would focus on the needs of underserved and under-represented communities in technology-led economic and workforce development. The Century Foundation has a long track record of research showing the importance of championing regional economic development as an essential element in the advanced manufacturing progress.
  • The inclusion of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Modernization Act, which would finally fulfill the promise of re-employment for workers and communities devastated by deindustrialization, especially communities of color that have been historically the most marginalized by trade policies.
  • The legislation’s proposed funding for research and development, including STEM programs, at colleges and universities, including HBCUs. This investment is particularly relevant given historic underfunding at HBCUs, which continues to this day.

“We hope that the Senate and House can quickly resolve differences in these packages and move them to the President’s desk.”

Flanked by Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks about the COMPETES Act at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Source: Drew Angerer/Getty Image