Congress moves erratically on budget, tax issues

The House and Senate are working toward FY 2024 appropriations, but not even a negotiated agreement has kept the chambers moving in the same direction. Today, the Senate appropriations committee directed its subcommittees to produce bills that align with the slight reduction in non-defense spending agreed to in the debt ceiling agreement reached earlier this month. However, after House Freedom Caucus members revolted over the agreement, the House appropriations committee decided to direct its subcommittees to produce bills  that cut another $119 billion from the level agreed to as part of the debt ceiling deal.

Some US investments in other countries under scrutiny

The U.S. Department of Treasury and the International Trade Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce have issued reports considering a program to address national security concerns “arising from outbound investments from the United States into sensitive technologies that could enhance the technological capabilities of countries of concern in ways that threaten U.S. national security.” The reports were required by Congress as part of the most recent appropriations bill and come amid growing concern about China’s technological capacity and if American venture capital funds are helping fuel it.

SSTI members support innovation programs on the Hill

The SSTI Innovation Advocacy Council continues to work toward additional appropriations for Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs, Build to Scale, and the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership. This week, the Council facilitated meetings with SSTI members and congressional offices to discuss funding priorities. SSTI also released a letter signed by 70 national and regional entities that support fully-funding the Tech Hubs program.

Is the future of work a four-day workweek?

The idea of changing the 40 hour workweek standard has been floated for decades, and more frequently discussed in recent years as companies confront pandemic-related stress, burnout and the “Great Resignation.” But, even as some smaller U.S. companies (mostly in tech) have moved toward offering a shorter workweek, the idea has not become mainstream, despite some states’ best efforts.

Rep. David Cicilline, regional innovation policy champion, leaving House

This week, Rep. David Cicilline (RI) announced that he will resign his seat in the U.S. House, effective June 1, 2023, to become the president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. Cicilline was a strong supporter of the Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale program, speaking about the program on the floor of the House and co-leading "Dear Colleague" letters (with Rep. Randy Hultgren) requesting appropriations. He also spoke about the importance of Build to Scale specifically and regional innovation economies generally at SSTI’s 2017 Annual Conference. The Rhode Island Foundation is a community foundation that, according to its website, has been in existence for more than 100 years, focusing on economic security, educational success and healthy lives.

Innovation-related congressional committees see new members

Editor's note: The Senate appropriations subcommittees were formally updated after this article originally published. They have been updated to reflect new assignments.

House hearing expresses support for regional innovation

In a hearing this week, lawmakers expressed bipartisan support for EDA’s innovation programs and for providing appropriations for the newly-authorized Regional Innovation and Technology Hubs. On Dec. 14, the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a hearing on “Building Regional Innovation Economies.” This panel, convened by subcommittee Chairwoman Haley Stevens, emphasized the Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale, Build Back Better Regional Challenge and newly-authorized Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs) programs. The witnesses, who included EDA administrator Alejandra Y. Castillo, spoke to the significant and positive impact EDA funding has had for local economies.

Perspective: Split Congress requires bipartisan work to advance tech

Enough races have now been called in the 2022 midterm elections to confirm that the Senate will remain under Democratic party control while the House will switch to the Republican party. If any legislation is going to advance to the White House over the next two years, the parties are going to need to work together — both across and within each chamber (where Senate filibuster rules and House politics are likely to make bipartisan votes a necessity to passing bills).

Election implications for federal TBED policy still TBD

As of Thursday morning, party control of both chambers of Congress is undetermined, as final outcomes remain unknown for 44 House seats and three Senate seats (per the AP). Chamber control may drive the size of the next few federal budgets — affecting opportunities for additional science and innovation funding — and determines who will be chair versus ranking member of committees. Regardless of the electoral outcomes, however, many of the relevant leaders will be unknown until committee assignments occur next year. At a minimum: the Senate appropriations committee will replace the Democratic and Republican leaders; the Senate commerce and small business committees will see new Republican leaders; the House science committee will have a new Democratic leader; and, the House small business committee will have a new Republican leader. SSTI will post updates as those results are available.

Congress passes modified competitiveness legislation

This week, Congress approved a new version of legislation to incentivize semiconductor manufacturing facilities, create a Regional Technology Hubs program, and reauthorize many science-related agencies. The Senate passed the bill on the 27th, and the House passed the legislation a day later.


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