Legislation Advances to Drive Research and Development, Includes Water Components

Feb 9, 2022

The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed H.R. 4521, the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act of 2022, which is a comprehensive bill designed to help drive research and innovation to improve American global competitiveness and supply chain constraints in the fields of science and technology.

Specific to the water sector, the bill would direct funding to support research to advance the understanding of water availability, water quality and the impact of human activity and climate climate on urban and rural watershed systems.

The House’s America COMPETES Act passed largely along party lines with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16-R) joining Democrats in support and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-7-D) voting in opposition with every other Republican. Its companion bill from the Senate, S. 1260, the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, cleared the upper chamber in June 2021 in a bipartisan vote of 68-32 with 19 Republicans in support.

While the goals and much of the text between the House and Senate versions are similar in nature, the Senate bill does not include the water specific research elements found in the America COMPETES Act. Congress will need to formally begin conferencing the two texts to align them for final passage into law and it is unclear at this time when that conference process will take place.

NACWA will continue tracking this legislation in the coming weeks. Please do not hesitate to reach out to NACWA’s legislative staff if you have any questions. 

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