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Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

Senate committee advances bill to ensure federally-funded inventions made in United States

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The Invent Here, Make Here for Homeland Security Act advanced out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee this week, putting to the full body consideration of legislation that would add requirements and restrictions on what can be manufactured abroad.

Produced by U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), the bill would place specific limits on products resulting from funding provided by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T). Under existing law, products manufactured as a result of federally funded research must be made in the U.S, at least in theory. In practice, however, the requirement is routinely waived to allow the manufacturing of products overseas.

“I am thrilled our bipartisan legislation to ensure taxpayer-funded inventions are made by American manufacturers is one step closer to become law of the land,” Baldwin said. “Building on our Buy America standards we championed in the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, our Invent Here, Make Here Act will create and sustain good paying jobs here at home and ensure that the high-tech products are made in America.”

Specifically, the bill would require any of the waivers so often sought for these products to be subject to the reporting requirements stipulated in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Tacked onto this would be an outright ban on working with specific countries. China, North Korea, Iran, or Russia would be henceforth prohibited from manufacturing products developed through U.S. taxpayer funding.

“I’m pleased this bipartisan legislation has been passed by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee because when the government spends American taxpayer money on inventing a product, it’s common sense that product should be made in America and not by our adversaries,” Portman said. “This bill will work in accordance with the Buy America reporting requirements I authored in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to ensure that coming infrastructure projects across America use American-made iron, steel, and manufactured products.”