Home » Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter » The Clock is Ticking on U.S. Competitiveness

The Clock is Ticking on U.S. Competitiveness

Dear Research Advocate,

With both chambers in recess this week, it has been quiet on Capitol Hill. One notable exception: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced he would pursue a “reconciliation” package (legislation that can pass the Senate with a simple majority voting in favor, rather than the standard 60-vote bar). While the composition of the reconciliation package is uncertain, momentum on that package could impact other legislation. This leads me to…

USICA: Bipartisan, bicameral negotiations to finalize competitiveness legislation have been moving forward. USICA (S.1260, H.R.4561) is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to dramatically strengthen our nation’s science and technology capacity. However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has stated that any movement on a reconciliation package would lead him (and possibly others) to stop participating in negotiations around the USICA legislation.

Advocates can turn this ship around if we are vocal enough.

Fully separate of a reconciliation package, it is imperative that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle rise to the challenge and pass bipartisan USICA legislation. If they fail, the clock will tick down on our nation’s global economic competitiveness and, ultimately, our nation’s self-sufficiency in the face of pandemics, climate change, cyberterrorism, and other catastrophic threats.

Read a letter sent to congressional leadership, signed by Research!America and more than 30 other organizations, urging Congress to pass competitiveness legislation. Please use this editable tweet to make the case with congressional leadership!

Bayh-Dole Act: Last week I mentioned the need for advocacy to protect one of our nation’s most successful bipartisan laws: the Bayh-Dole Act. This landmark bill allows universities and businesses to build on federally funded research and bring new innovations to the market, incentivizing development of research that would otherwise lie dormant.

Unfortunately, some members of Congress are pushing the Biden Administration to use the Bayh-Dole Act as a vehicle for negotiating prescription drug prices, even though both of its authors affirmed that doing so would contradict legislative intent. Misapplying the law in this manner would invariably slow medical progress. Affordability is critical, as is progress: pitting them against each other serves no one.

Please share this Bayh-Dole Infographic with your representatives in Congress and look for more on Bayh-Dole advocacy in future letters!

Your Input Needed: Consider lending your experience, insights, and convictions to the following initiatives, which focus on two key priorities for the R&D ecosystem – patient engagement and workforce diversity:

The Impact of Alzheimer’s: Both PFDD and DEI are front and center in efforts to address Alzheimer’s disease. Beyond the human toll, the economic costs of Alzheimer’s and related dementias are nearly inconceivable. The Congressional Joint Economic Committee is holding a roundtable discussion on this topic on Tuesday, July 19, from 11 a.m. to noon ET. Watch the livestream.

Rebuilding Trust: Patient engagement and workforce diversity are pieces of another complex, but crucial puzzle: how to bolster trust in science. Join a discussion on “Rebuilding Trust in Science: Community-Centered Solutions,” on Wednesday, July 13, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. ET. Research!America Vice President of Strategy and Communication Jenny Luray is part of the American Psychological Association-led panel about “the psychology and impact of misinformation on public health.”

Quick Reads: Have you checked out the Research!America blog recently? In addition to past Weekly Letters, there are posts providing highlights of alliance discussions (such as last week’s conversation about ARPA-H) and other Research!America programming, guest posts, and more. Take a look and consider becoming a guest contributor! Contact Taylarr Lopez to learn more.

Upcoming Alliance Discussion: Join us on Tuesday, July 12, from 11 to 11:45 a.m. ET for a quick update on USICA featuring Julia Jester, Associate Vice President for Federal Relations at the Association of American Universities.

Stay well, stay safe, and stay connected.