Congressman Ben Ray Luján announced today that legislation he has introduced to increase partnerships between businesses and national laboratories has been included as part of House Democrats' Make It In America Agenda (MIIA). Luján's legislation authorizes a dedicated fund to provide for the government's share of Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA) that support maturing lab technology and transferring it to the private sector. The bill will help foster relationships between businesses and national laboratories that can help spur new economic growth and create new jobs.
House Democrats' Make It In America plan was developed by working with a variety of stakeholders -- businesses, labor representatives, entrepreneurs, innovators, economists -- on the key priorities that can bring about the changes needed to help businesses grow and create jobs here at home. The four main priorities of MIIA -- adopt and pursue a national manufacturing strategy; promote the export of U.S. goods; encourage businesses to bring jobs and innovation back to the U.S.; and train and secure a twenty-first century workforce -- are central to creating jobs, maintaining America's innovation edge, and growing the economy.
"For decades, our national labs have been hubs of innovation and research," Congressman Luján said. "They have the potential to greatly contribute to our efforts to grow our economy and spur the creation of new technologies that lead to new business ventures and more jobs for our communities. Adding this legislation to House Democrats' Make It In America Agenda makes it clear that we believe our national labs are instrumental to a stronger, more competitive economy that creates more opportunities for the American people."
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland has led House Democrats' efforts to develop the Make It In America agenda.
"House Democrats' Make It In America plan rests on a simple but powerful premise -- if we can encourage more businesses to make their products here in the United States, the jobs and opportunities they create will help more of our people make it in America," Whip Hoyer said. "This legislation introduced by Rep. Luján will help businesses take advantage of the tremendous resources the labs have to offer, turning innovative efforts into new opportunities and new jobs for the American people. I want to thank Rep. Luján for his hard work on this issue."
CRADAs are common mechanisms to support collaboration between a business and a national lab to bring technology from the lab to the marketplace. While it is permissible for the Department of Energy to use its funds to pay for the government's share of a CRADA, most CRADAs are funded entirely by private businesses. Given the large amount of risk in commercializing a new technology, paying for the government's share of the CRADA as well as its own is prohibitively expensive for most small businesses. This bill creates a fund to pay for the government's portion of the CRADA and authorizes $20 million a year for five years.
As a co-chair of the Technology Transfer Caucus and the Science and National Labs Caucus, Luján has been advocating for the national labs, working to expand their mission, and striving to ensure that the innovative work that occurs there is being fully utilized in an effort to grow the economy and support local businesses.