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APLU Outlines USICA/COMPETES Priorities to Congressional Leaders

February 28, 2022

Washington, DC – Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today sent a letter to House and Senate leaders outlining the public research university community’s priorities for the conference committee of the United States Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) and the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521).

“[USICA and COMPETES] hold great promise to help protect and advance U.S. science and technology (S&T) leadership. APLU urges Congress to reach a bipartisan compromise that the nation’s public research universities can support. Crucially, a strong authorization bill is no replacement for a plan to deliver on needed funding. We urge Congress to deliver on both,” McPherson wrote in a letter sent today to Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Senate Minority Leader McConnell, House Speaker Pelosi, and House Minority Leader McCarthy

Read the full letter here and an excerpt below.

February 28, 2022

The Honorable Charles Schumer
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and Minority Leader McCarthy:

On behalf of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), we applaud both chambers for passage of their respective competitiveness bills, the United States Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) and the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R. 5421), and write regarding public research university priorities for conference consideration.

APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities. Annually, its 201 U.S. member campuses enroll 4.2 million undergraduates and 1.2 million graduate students, award 1.2 million degrees, employ 1.1 million faculty and staff, and conduct about $50 billion in university-based research.

The latest National Science Board Science and Engineering Indicators report shows China’s annual increase of R&D spending has averaged 10.6 percent over the last decade, while the United States’ annual average increase was only 5.4 percent over the same period. As a result, the United States’ share of global R&D has declined significantly. While the U.S. is still the global leader, competitors are catching up. This increasingly competitive global landscape demands greater U.S. investment in science and technology and policy that fosters an environment for innovation and appropriate global collaborations.

S. 1260 and H.R. 5421 hold great promise to help protect and advance U.S. science and technology (S&T) leadership. APLU urges Congress to reach a bipartisan compromise that the nation’s public research universities can support. Crucially, a strong authorization bill is no replacement for a plan to deliver on needed funding. We urge Congress to deliver on both.

APLU is pleased to offer key recommendations and fuller comments as the chambers work to reconcile differences between the two measures.

Read the full letter

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