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Senators Baldwin, Vance Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Ensure Taxpayer-Funded Inventions Are Made in America

Invent Here, Make Here Act expands Baldwin-championed requirements to manufacture cutting-edge technologies in the US

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and JD Vance (R-OH) introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure taxpayer-funded technologies are manufactured in the United States. While current law requires federally-funded inventions to be manufactured in the United States, the requirement is often waived, allowing cutting-edge, taxpayer-funded technologies to be licensed to foreign companies and manufactured in countries like China. The Invent Here, Make Here Act of 2023 would expand newly enhanced waiver requirements, championed by Senator Baldwin last year and passed into law, to all federal agencies commercializing federal research.

“When taxpayer dollars are used to fund innovation, American companies and workers are the ones who should be reaping the benefits,” said Senator Baldwin. “By building on the progress we’ve made to manufacture more products in the USA, the Invent Here, Make Here Act ensures cutting-edge American innovation is also American-made, bolstering our manufacturing sector, strengthening our domestic supply chains, and supporting American jobs.”

“Taxpayer-funded innovations should benefit American workers and industry, not our foreign adversaries. For far too long, we’ve allowed American breakthroughs to be offshored to nations like China and Russia – this legislation will bring those abuses to an end," said Senator Vance. "It’s common sense: products developed with American taxpayer dollars should be manufactured by American workers on American soil.”

In a noteworthy example of the flawed process, an investigative report in August 2022 found that a breakthrough battery technology invented in a federal lab had been licensed to a Chinese company and was being manufactured in China.

In the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Senators Baldwin and Rob Portman (R-OH) included a provision to strengthen the waiver process for inventions resulting from federal research at the Department of Homeland Security. These new rules add an additional layer of review for all waivers and prohibit waivers for companies that will manufacture in hostile countries.

The Invent Here, Make Here Act would subject each waiver request to the review process established by the Made in America Office as required by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Additionally, the legislation would prohibit waivers for license applications that intend to manufacture in a “country of concern” – currently China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran.

The bipartisan legislation will also require the National Institute of Standards and Technology to improve coordination with other federal agencies to encourage the commercialization of federal research by domestic manufacturers and ensure that projects funded through the Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships Directorate at the National Science Foundation prioritize domestic manufacturing.

The Invent Here, Make Here Act is supported by the Alliance for American Manufacturing, the Coalition for a Prosperous America, and American Compass.

“We applaud Senators Tammy Baldwin and JD Vance for introducing this bill to ensure more federally-funded inventions are manufactured here in the United States,” said Scott Paul, President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. “This legislation will tighten up the lax waiver process that has allowed far too many of these breakthroughs to be licensed to foreign competitors and produced abroad. It also ensures we stop supporting bad actors like China with our own taxpayer-funded R&D. Instead, the ‘Invent Here, Make Here Act’ will put these investments to good use, building resilient domestic supply chains and creating manufacturing jobs right here at home. We are grateful to Senators Baldwin and Vance for their leadership of this effort to strengthen domestic manufacturing.”

“For too long, our government has been subsidizing the manufacturing of critical technologies in China and other countries. It makes no sense for taxpayer money to incentivize research that will then be produced in hostile countries. We applaud Senators Baldwin and Vance for introducing this long overdue legislation,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of the Coalition for a Prosperous America.

"Globalization was supposed to boost innovation, investment, growth, and the creation of good jobs, but here in the United States we've gotten the opposite thanks to a broken economic model in which multinational corporations move American technology quickly offshore, even when public funds sponsored the research,” said Oren Cass, Executive Director of American Compass. “Thankfully, policymakers like Senators Vance and Baldwin are no longer listening to the economists who argue that it doesn't matter what we make in America, or whether we make anything at all. Legislation like the Invent Here, Make Here Act is vital to rebuilding a capitalism that works for America."

A one-pager on this legislation can be found here. The full text of the legislation can be found here