Hoyer Leads Charge to Bolster American Competitiveness

June 24, 2022 by Dan McCue
Hoyer Leads Charge to Bolster American Competitiveness

WASHINGTON — House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., on Thursday urged House and Senate conferees currently working on a bipartisan innovation bill to complete their work soon so that the House can vote on it before the August recess.

Originally called the Endless Frontier Act, the original intent of the legislation originally proposed in 2020 was to revamp and expand the National Science Foundation to include a new technology directorate.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, however, the legislation has morphed into two sweeping bills — the America COMPETES Act in the House, and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act in the Senate.

Both retain most of the original bill’s intent but add to it measures to address supply chain issues, cybersecurity and direct support of the domestic semiconductor industry, education, infrastructure enhancement and  entrepreneurship.


In recent weeks the goal had been for the conferees to come up with a narrower, harmonized version of the competing bills by Monday, July 4, but negotiations have bogged down.

On Thursday, Hoyer and nearly a dozen of his Democratic House colleagues held a press conference on what the majority leader has called his “Make It In America” agenda since at least 2010.

“Twelve years ago, I launched the Make It In America plan in order to gather the best bipartisan ideas for making our economy more competitive and creating better opportunities for our businesses and our workers,” Hoyer said during his opening remarks.

“Make It In America not only means manufacturing and making things in America, having services in America, having 0s and 1s in America, it also means succeeding,” he continued. “You make it, you win the game, you get the job, you ace the test, whatever — you make it. 

“That’s what Americans really want,” he said. “They want an opportunity to make it, to be successful, to be able to take care of themselves and their families.”

Back when Hoyer first began pushing his agenda, the nation’s primary concern was recovering the economy in the wake of the Great Recession. Back then, much of his emphasis was on promoting domestic manufacturing and creating more U.S.-based jobs. 

Since then, like the bills currently in conference, the ambitions of House Democrats have grown. Today, Hoyer and his colleagues say, their goal is nothing less than to build a more competitive economy for the next generation.


“In 2015, we held a series of hearings, called ‘Make It In America: What’s Next?’” Hoyer said. “We followed up by traveling across the country in 2017 and 2018 for the Make It In America Listening Tour. 

“We visited Indianapolis, Madison, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and other communities around the country to hear from labor organizers, business leaders, educators, innovators and local elected officials about what they needed from Congress as it related to growing our economy. … From what we learned in our hearings and on those visits, we adapted the Make It In America plan to reflect what our businesses and workers need to compete and win in the 21st century global economy.”

Hoyer stressed that the goal of his effort is “not to appeal to partisan differences but to appeal to common interests.” 

“Right now, House and Senate conferees are working to reach agreement on a bipartisan innovation bill. What the name will be at the end, we’ll see, but it’s an innovation bill. I urge them to complete their work so we can vote on it in July,” he said.

“We’ve done about 21 bills over the years that were focused on making it in America, but we can’t rest on our laurels. We need to move, and we need to move now,” he continued. “It means that it’s time to create our plan to respond to the needs of today’s economy and focus on new challenges and new opportunities. And to tell the American people: We feel your pain. We feel your pain when you go to the pump. We feel your pain when you go to the grocery store. We feel your pain when you’re trying to pay your bills as costs go up. 

“This legislation will bring costs down. This will make us more competitive and create more competition,” he added.

The House Democrats then went on to reveal a new component of their plan — enhancing supply chain resilience.

“Supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and by Putin’s criminal invasion of Ukraine, have shown us how important reliable and resilient supply chains are to our domestic economy,” Hoyer said. “We cannot rely on the unreliable. This new component to our plan addresses both the long-term needs of our economy and the immediate concerns as we work to ease inflation.”

Hoyer didn’t say whether the conferees were already aware of the new focus on supply chain resilience, but he did say he planned to follow the press conference with a letter to all of them.


“We need to get that legislation done, and we need to get it done now,” he said. “I was hoping we would be completed by the end of this month and I still think we have an opportunity to do that. Next week is devoted fully to committee work, and I’m hopeful we [can] get this done,” he said.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

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