President Joe Biden repeatedly emphasized a need to better compete with China during his first address to Congress. That’s a message U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) has been preaching for a while.
And legislation of Young’s fits right into that national conversation.
Young said the U.S. has already fallen behind China in some high-tech categories. What’s needed to catch up and stay ahead, he said, is investment. And that’s what his Endless Frontier Act does. It would direct both money and attention to key technology areas.
“This would mean artificial intelligence and robotics and advanced manufacturing and quantum computing and genomics,” Young said.
The measure would establish a new Technology and Innovation Directorate within the National Science Foundation. Young said he favors a more outcome-based research approach there, as opposed to the NSF's traditional "curiosity-based approach."
"What challenges, exactly, what problems are we trying to solve?" he said.
The new directorate within the foundation would receive $100 billion over five years through the Endless Frontier Act.
Young said making advances in those focus areas won’t just help the U.S. scientifically, it will also put the country in a better diplomatic position with China.
“Perhaps the most important national security priority for our country in the near term,” Young said.
Young’s co-author on the bill is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The Hoosier lawmaker is hopeful the measure will get to the president’s desk in the coming weeks.