Thanks to these efforts, the caucus has helped break through the congressional gridlock to deliver real successes. I was thrilled the year-end tax extenders bill that was signed into law last December included a number of ideas I have advocated for to encourage businesses to innovate and create jobs. These provisions will permanently extend and increase access to one of the most important tax credits available to American businesses, there search and development credit, which creates an incentive for companies to invest in R&D.
In fact, a key reason ITIF's study ranked the U.S. as No. 10 was our failure to invest more in R&D and increase access to the tax credits that promote it.
Until we made it permanent, the R&D tax credit was extended only retroactively, leaving businesses lurching from extension to extension, unsure whether they'd have access to the credit in a year's time. In that uncertain and unstable environment, it's easy to understand why businesses that wanted to invest in R&D didn't feel safe doing so. Moreover, until now, the tax credit was not available to start-ups, which are the leading source of job creation and innovation in this country. Now, American businesses of all sizes will have the long-term stability and support they need to grow their business and take risks.
Still, R&D alone won't get us back to number one. We also have to look to our manufacturing sector, which is responsible for three-quarters of U.S. industry R&D. Manufacturing serves as a driving force behind America's ability to innovate and remains key to our continued prosperity and competitiveness. But manufacturers are often unable to fill open positions because prospective employees don't have the necessary skills, from hard math and engineering to the ability to think creatively and work as part of a team.
Many of these jobs require at least a two-year college degree, if not more. Without a sustained commitment to training a highly skilled workforce, American manufacturing — and, in turn, American innovation — will suffer.