Apr 22, 2015

McCarthy in Milken: A Foundation for U.S. Innovation

innovation

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) wrote the following essay for the Milken Institute on the power of transformative ideas from the United States House of Representatives.

To achieve great things, you must start from a strong foundation. You have to have a vision, yes, but also the means and structure to achieve that vision.

In Congress, that means having a budget that balances, sets priorities and puts America on strong fiscal and economic footing. I’m proud that the House of Representatives adopted such a budget that sets the stage for a more robust and innovative America.

From the foundations of this budget, the House can pursue transformative ideas that will lift the burden on the American people, fuel a growing economy and prepare future generations for even greater success. Beyond ensuring that Washington lives within its means, the House budget calls for a fairer and simpler tax code that cuts corporate welfare and will provide a much-needed boost to our economy. A big part of this tax reform will be to make research and development tax credits permanent.

Americans understand that the greatest innovation doesn’t come from Washington, but rather from the people. Whether they are in a lab, farming in the Central Valley, or building electronics in their garage, it’s the people who will create tomorrow’s medicines, labor-saving tools and revolutionary apps. By making the R&D tax credit permanent, we enable the American people to use their talents and intelligence for the benefit of everyone.

But just as we know that R&D tax credits enable innovation, the House’s 21st Century Cures initiative, spearheaded by the Energy and Commerce Committee, recognizes that Washington can also hold back innovation with opaque and costly bureaucracy.

Right now, health-care innovation is hobbled. For example, the FDA only just approved a 3-D breast cancer imaging system that has been available outside the U.S. for years.

Potential cures for Alzheimer’s, AIDS and cancer face a gauntlet of research, development and approval that is made more difficult by burdensome regulatory complexity and outdated government policy. The 21st Century Cures initiative imagines a world where government works with the medical industry to facilitate advances that can resign so many diseases to the history books.

Economic and medical innovation remains key to American success, but to best invest in our future, we must improve education. From kindergarten to graduate school, our education system looks remarkably similar to how it was 50 years ago, despite radical changes in the rest of the nation.

For much of our education system, the Department of Education still evaluates students based on how long they’ve spent learning, not how much they know. In a world where students can take classes online at their own pace and information is available instantaneously from any computer or phone, the old model needs a big update.

This isn’t just about college students and Ph.D.s. This is about the mother of three who can’t attend classes all day but wants to continue her education and get a better job. This is about the high school graduate who wants to return to school and get a college degree. These are the people who will benefit from the flexibility provided by education innovation.

Government should welcome this model of learning based on outcomes, not process, and by removing the barriers of entry for new education providers. We should embrace flexible learning instead of being stuck in the rigid system of today.

Innovation is the story of America’s great rise and the reason for its continued success. With commitment to policies that enable and promote innovation, our future will be even brighter than our past.