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Innovation holds a high place in Biden’s State of the Union address

March 03, 2022
By: Jason Rittenberg

President Biden delivered his first State of the Union on Tuesday, March 1, and innovation policy was addressed early and often during the speech. Biden gave the most attention to semiconductor manufacturing incentives but also talked about ARPA-Health, college affordability, clean energy technology and supply chains for advanced industries. The message included a specific request that Congress pass one of the SSTI Innovation Advocacy Council’s top priorities.

Biden urged Congress to pass innovation legislation and, “send it to [his] desk.” During the speech, this bill was referred to as the “Bipartisan Innovation Act,” which is the latest name for the Senate’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (originally the Endless Frontier Act) and the House’s America COMPETES Act. In addition to funding for semiconductor incentives, this legislation would authorize a multi-billion dollar Regional Technology Hubs program, expand the National Science Foundation to include an innovation-focused directorate, and many other initiatives of interest (see SSTI’s most recent write-up of this legislation).

SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council has been active on the Hill over the last year to improve and encourage this legislation, including SSTI President and CEO Dan Berglund’s testimony before the House science committee last year. To learn more about SSTI’s work on this issue, contact Jason Rittenberg (rittenberg@ssti.org).

Innovation issues are well-positioned — in addition to Biden’s statements, increased funding for key programs is included in the FY 2022 budget proposals and both chambers have passed major innovation legislation — but further action is required on all fronts to bring these initiatives into reality. The next few weeks will demonstrate how strong of a priority tech-based economic development is for the federal government.

The specifics of Biden’s comments can be read in the official White House transcript, with excerpts below pertaining to innovation.


Bipartisan Innovation Act

"But to compete for the best jobs of the future, we also need to level the playing field with China and other competitors.

"That’s why it is so important to pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act sitting in Congress that will make record investments in emerging technologies and American manufacturing.

"Let me give you one example of why it’s so important to pass it.

"If you travel 20 miles east of Columbus, Ohio, you’ll find 1,000 empty acres of land.

"It won’t look like much, but if you stop and look closely, you’ll see a “Field of dreams,” the ground on which America’s future will be built.

"This is where Intel, the American company that helped build Silicon Valley, is going to build its $20 billion semiconductor “mega site”.

"Up to eight state-of-the-art factories in one place. 10,000 new good-paying jobs.

"Some of the most sophisticated manufacturing in the world to make computer chips the size of a fingertip that power the world and our everyday lives.

"Smartphones. The Internet. Technology we have yet to invent.

"But that’s just the beginning.

"Intel’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger, who is here tonight, told me they are ready to increase their investment from $20 billion to $100 billion.

"That would be one of the biggest investments in manufacturing in American history.

"And all they’re waiting for is for you to pass this bill.

"So let’s not wait any longer. Send it to my desk. I’ll sign it."



"I call on Congress to fund ARPA-H, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health.

"It’s based on DARPA — the Defense Department project that led to the Internet, GPS, and so much more. 

"ARPA-H will have a singular purpose — to drive breakthroughs in cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and more."


College affordability

"Let’s increase Pell Grants and increase our historic support of HBCUs, and invest in what Jill — our First Lady who teaches full-time — calls America’s best-kept secret: community colleges."


Electric vehicles

"We’ll build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations… That’s what is happening. Ford is investing $11 billion to build electric vehicles, creating 11,000 jobs across the country. GM is making the largest investment in its history — $7 billion to build electric vehicles, creating 4,000 jobs in Michigan… Lower the price of electric vehicles, saving you another $80 a month because you’ll never have to pay at the gas pump again."

policy, white house