The Club for Growth opposes the so-called United States Innovation and Competition Act, S.1260, and urges all Senators to vote NO on it. A vote is expected soon in the Senate. The results of this vote will be included in the Club for Growth Foundation’s 2021 congressional scorecard.

The United States Innovation and Competition Act is a substitute amendment offered by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to the Endless Frontiers Act, and it is not really about innovation or competition. It is about government control of technology and research and increasing government control over the U.S. economy. It is about growing the size, scope, and cost of the federal government by increasing federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars in the name of investing in scientific and technological research and development. It is about crowding out the private sector and having the federal government handle the responsibility of creating new technologies with woke universities.

But many U.S. technological advances that are now the foundation of the U.S. economy were built in the garage, not the government or university laboratory. This bill does not incentivize innovation, entrepreneurship, and risk-taking associated with new business formation in the private sector by removing harmful regulations that stifle innovation and create a barrier to entry for markets. And it does not decrease the heavy-handed burden of excessive taxation on job creators to increase competition. It simply grows government which means it weakens the private economy.

Instead, the legislation is a half-baked attempt to confront China’s technological capabilities by increasing federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars through U.S. agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Energy. U.S. intelligence agencies have warned universities that they are soft targets for foreign students and professors that are actually spies and agents of foreign governments in the constant battle to protect against intellectual property theft. The FBI has also said that there are nearly 1,000 open espionage cases currently open due to intellectual property theft. While these bad actors are often held accountable, the cost to the U.S. economy is estimated at $400 billion to $600 billion annually. The recent Colonial Pipeline cyberattack is further evidence that Congress should focus on cybersecurity that protects the U.S. economy, rather than potentially expose new discoveries and innovations to domestic and foreign hackers and enemies.

The approach in this legislation to innovation and competition is effectively the “you didn’t build that” approach that the Left has embraced for far too long where nothing can be accomplished without the help or blessing of government. Government handcuffs private sector inventors through regulation and taxation in favor of big government bureaucrats that direct federal taxpayer dollars through massive federal grants that go to thousands of higher education institutions. It is the same approach where government thinks they’re smarter and more capable that the inventor in the basement. And it is the approach that tramples on economic freedom and liberty in favor of government-funded technologies, research, and development.

Until Members of Congress finally recognize that these bloated federal agencies are incredibly inefficient and that innovation often best thrives outside of government and universities, U.S. innovation and competition in technology might lag behind other countries, including some adversaries. If Congress wants to get tough with China and prevent cyberattacks, theft of intellectual property, and currency manipulation, the best way to do so is taking steps to increase U.S. innovation and competition through tax cuts and deregulation, and improving cybersecurity through enhanced IT infrastructure, which will strengthen the health of the U.S. economy. When the U.S. economy is unleashed to globally compete without having its hands tied by Congress or unelected bureaucrats that promulgate excessive regulation, countries like China will finally recognize its own economic shortfalls are because of communism. Free markets born through capitalism and economic freedom have created the greatest prosperity in the history of mankind. And the federal government should embrace this economic system in order to increase innovation and competition, not mimic countries that use the force of government to force its people into submission and subservience with government control over innovation and competition.

Club for Growth Foundation’s Congressional Scorecard for the 117th Congress provides a comprehensive rating of how well or how poorly each member of Congress supports pro-growth, free-market policies and will be distributed to the public.