Marco Rubio Backs Ed Markey’s Bioeconomy Research and Development Act

This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., threw his support behind U.S. Sen. Ed Markey’s, D-Mass., “Bioeconomy Research and Development Act.”

According to Rubio’s office, the bill “would strengthen America’s bioeconomy by championing research and development, encouraging biomanufacturing, strengthening the bioeconomy workforce, and supporting an ethical research framework” and “would also establish a committee to coordinate research in engineering biology across federal agencies.”

Other backers include U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY.

The bill would have the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) push an initiative to “strengthen and broaden the country’s research capacities” and have various branches of the federal government work together on bioeconomy issues.

“Biotechnology and life sciences innovation drives our bioeconomy,” Markey said. “It is critical that the United States remain a leader in engineering biology research and innovation — particularly as other countries accelerate their bioeconomy investments — and that we continue to support the hundreds of thousands of workers in the health, energy, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors that contribute to this field. This bill will ensure that we remain a global bioeconomy leader and enable us to best coordinate bioengineering research.”

“Cutting-edge innovation, technology, and discovery are all driving forces of America’s economic prosperity,” Rubio said. “As we’ve seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, investing in engineering biology research is critical for our health and economic stability. I am proud to join my colleagues in reintroducing this legislation to strengthen both our economy and our research capability.”

The American Society for Microbiology is backing the proposal.

Markey’s bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee this week. So far, there is no companion measure in the U.S. House.

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