A move to include a high profile innovation initiative in the annual defense authorization bill created high stakes tensions on Capitol Hill earlier this week. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) moved to include the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, formerly referred to as the Endless Frontier Act, as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Other Senators objected to including an outside subject as part of the defense authorization.
The bill (S. 1260) would establish a Directorate for Technology and Innovation in the National Science Foundation and would create a federal initiative on the bioeconomy to advance research, workforce, and biomanufacturing issues.
S. 1260 previously passed the Senate in June, but the House has not acted on it. That chamber had been backing alternative legislation (H.R. 2225 and H.R. 3593).
Under a new deal, the House and Senate have agreed to proceed with conference talks on S. 1260 and the House measures separate from the defense bill.