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Supporting Innovation to Fuel Job Creation


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The most important responsibility I have as your senator is to support job creation. Our economy is starting to recover, but there are still far too many Delawareans out of work. That is why we are continuing to host job fairs across the state, connecting job seekers with employers ready to hire, and working to help Delaware businesses access the capital they need to grow and create new jobs.

One of the keys to fueling American economic growth and ensuring we remain competitive in the global economy is putting in place policies that support and sustain innovation. American ingenuity has always been at the core of our economic success. From inventing the light bulb to perfecting the search engine, we have never lacked good ideas. The challenges of the global economy may be new, but America's advantage -- our entrepreneurs and innovators -- remains the same. We just have to support their work so they can continue to grow and create jobs.

Over the last few months, I've partnered with Republicans and Democrats alike to introduce legislation that will support our most innovative companies -- the ones with the highest job-creation potential.

Watching cable news, it would be easy to think the Senate is stuck in partisan gridlock, and to an extent, that is true. Yet there are also decent people of both parties who want to get things done, especially when it comes to our economy. To those of us in Delaware, that is the rule, rather than the exception, but unfortunately, Washington doesn't always work the same way.

That is why I was so glad to find partners like Senator Marco Rubio from Florida and Senator Jerry Moran from Kansas. They are both conservative Republicans, but I've worked with them and Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, on a series of job-creation proposals we bundled together in a bill called the Startup Act 2.0.

The Startup Act 2.0 is designed to promote innovation and jumpstart the economy through the creation and growth of new businesses and jobs. It is based on research showing that for almost 30 years, companies less than five years old have created almost all the net new jobs in America -- at an average of about three million new jobs a year. So we pulled together ideas that help bring university research from the lab to the marketplace, ideas that encourage investments in new startup companies and more in the hopes of creating an environment where entrepreneurs can succeed.

Our bill contains an array of job-creating measures for small businesses, such as exempting capital gains taxes on investments in startups, which the independent Kauffman Foundation tells us would unlock $7.5 billion of new investment. It also supports innovative small businesses with an expanded research and development tax credit, an idea Senator Rubio and I introduced together last fall as part of our bipartisan AGREE Act and something I will continue fighting to pass because it is critical for Delaware small business.

With the right resources, American products can be manufactured in Delaware and remain competitive in the global marketplace. It is happening every day across our state, at companies of all sizes, including Miller Metal in Bridgeville, a local shop that is going head-to-head with Chinese metal fabricators -- and winning.

We have to continue to support this kind of entrepreneurship and innovation in all sectors of our economy, including in the energy sector. There is going to be a clean energy economy in the years ahead, the only question is whether American businesses, families and workers will be at the center or the periphery. If we want to stay competitive in the race for homegrown, affordable, renewable sources of energy, we have to make sure our financial innovation keeps up with our technological innovation.

That is why this spring, I introduced bipartisan legislation to level the playing field and make a tax credit that has long supported oil and gas projects available to renewable energy projects like wind, solar and biofuels. The bill I wrote with Senator Moran, the Master Limited Partnership Parity Act, could bring significant capital off the sidelines to give clean energy innovators and projects the critical private sector support they need to get their product to the marketplace.

The bottom line is that America's researchers, business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs are already working to help create jobs and ensure American competitiveness in the global economy. We just have to support and sustain their hard work, and we cannot take the rest of the year off just because there's an election coming up. Even in this difficult, partisan atmosphere, we have to find ways to work together and get things done. Innovation will drive American economic competitiveness for generations to come, and our job is to help our innovators and entrepreneurs do their jobs.

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