1:49 PM EDT

David Wu, D-OR 1st

Mr. WU. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1868, the Technology Innovation Manufacturing Stimulation Act of 2007. This bill authorizes programs at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, for fiscal years 2008 through 2010, and strengthens American innovation.

For most Americans, NIST is not a household word. But since its creation more than 100 years ago, NIST has made major contributions to public safety, industrial competitiveness and economic growth. Beginning in the 1900s, when it set standards for fire hydrants that have saved countless lives, to the 1950s, when it developed the world's fastest computer, helping usher in the information age, to its groundbreaking work on the technical aspects of the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11,

NIST has served the public interest in ways that far exceed its public fame.

Today, NIST's mission focuses on promoting innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement, science, standards and technology. This mission has never been more urgent. The recent National Academy of Sciences report coauthored by Norm Augustine, ``Rising Above the Gathering Storm,'' warns that we face major challenges in the global marketplace and recommends that we ``ensure that the United States is the premier place in the world in which to innovate.''

H.R. 1868 helps implement that recommendation by putting the NIST budget on a 10-year path to doubling as an investment in the future of American innovation. The bill increases the NIST research budget, funds key areas such as biologics, health care IT and nanotechnology. It funds the construction of a high performance laboratory at the Boulder, Colorado, campus, and upgrades the Center for Neutron Research in Gaithersburg, Maryland. This enables world class engineers and their scientists

to have world class facilities for their work.

H.R. 1868 also addresses problems in the American manufacturing center, which has lost almost 3 million jobs since 2001. It expands the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, or MEP, a proven and highly successful public-private partnership that provides technical assistance to small and medium-size manufacturers to improve productivity and to remain competitive in a global marketplace.

It also establishes a competitive and collaborative grant system for MEP [Page: H4453]

centers, industry groups, and nonindustry partners, to undertake manufacturing technology research. Manufacturing is a major source of high skill, high-paying jobs, and this bill will go far to reinvigorate our manufacturing sector.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to innovation is the technology so-called ``Valley of Death,'' the gap between angel funding and measurable venture capital, the lack of adequate private venture capital for early stage, high-risk, high-reward technology development. Almost 20 years ago, Congress created the Advance Technology Program, or ATP, to address this gap.

Today, the ``Valley of Death'' remains, but the global innovative environment has changed. H.R. 1868 responds to this by replacing ATP with the Technology Innovation Program, or TIP, which would provide limited, cost-shared grants to small and medium-size firms and joint venture to pursue high risk, high-reward technologies, with potential for broad public benefit.

TIP also acknowledges the vital role that universities play in the innovation cycle by allowing them to fully participate in TIP. H.R. 1868 is a bipartisan bill and incorporates good ideas from both sides of the aisle. It has been endorsed by TechNet, SEMI, the American Small Manufacturers Coalition, the Association of American Universities, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, the Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America, whose members include

the National Association of Manufacturers, the Business Software Alliance and the American Chemical Society. It also enjoys the support of dozens of other organizations, companies, and individuals.

I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

1:54 PM EDT

Vernon J. Ehlers, R-MI 3rd

Mr. EHLERS. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise today in support of H.R. 1868, the Technology Innovation Manufacturing and Stimulation Act of 2007.

I certainly want to thank the Chair of the subcommittee for working very, very closely with us in producing this fine bill.

This bill provides a 3-year authorization for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, familiarly called NIST. Since 1901, NIST scientists and engineers have worked directly with American industries to address their needs for measurement methods, tools, data and technology, the building blocks that allow industry to grow and prosper.

NIST is one of three agencies targeted by the President's American Competitiveness Initiative. The ACI aims to double the Federal investment in physical science and research over the next 10 years to ensure that America remains technologically competitive in the global context marketplace. Yesterday this body passed an authorization bill for one of the other ACI agencies, the National Science Foundation. I am very pleased that today we are supporting a second ACI agency by authorizing NIST labs

at a rate that would double the budget over the next 10 years.

H.R. 1868 is a bipartisan bill that incorporates recommendations from the administration for some of NIST's programs. However, earlier this week, the administration sent up a critical statement about H.R. 1868, and I want to clarify some misunderstanding that may have arisen from that statement.

H.R. 1868 does not underfund the NIST labs, contrary to the statement and the administration's comments. H.R. 1868 provides a 10 percent increase above fiscal year 2007 for the NIST labs and sets the NIST lab budget on a path to double over the next 10 years. This is entirely consistent with the President's overall stated goal for the American Competitiveness Initiative.

H.R. 1868 does not fund or subsidize management consulting services. H.R. 1868 fully funds the highly successful manufacturing extension partnership, better known as the MEP program.

MEP helps businesses improve manufacturing processes, reduce waste and train workers to use new equipment, which keeps high-paying manufacturing jobs here in the United States. This House has already twice passed this MEP authorization in both the 108th and 109th Congress.

Another comment, MEP receives one-third of its funding from the Federal Government, one-third from the States, one-third from fees charged to participating small manufacturers. MEP has over 350 manufacturing extension offices located in all 50 States and Puerto Rico.

H.R. 1868 creates the Technology Innovation Program based on recommendations from the administration. This bill is very clear that only small and medium-size companies can apply for Federal funding.

Universities partnering with this small company can apply for funding, actually expanding the role of university participation, not limiting it as the administration's letter suggests.

The program's sole goal is to accelerate the development and application of challenging high-risk, high-reward technologies in areas of critical national needs, thus, targeting major societal needs that the administration's letter asserts are not part of the bill.

H.R. 1868 authorizes an important investment in our Nation's future economic competitiveness. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank Chairman Gordon and Technology and Innovation Subcommittee Chairman Wu for working with us on this important piece of legislation.

I also want to acknowledge the hard work of the gentleman from Georgia (Dr. Gingrey) to improve this legislation.

I also want to make an additional point. At times, some have considered this as being improper legislation. In particular, the President's statement indicates that is the beginning of an industrial policy.

That is simply not true. For those who are critical of this particular proposal, I want to ask them, first of all, do they oppose the current agricultural extension program, which has been in effect for nearly a century, which has been of inestimable value to our farming communities and to our farmers.

No one would think of ending the cooperative extension service in the agriculture department. It has been extremely valuable to this country. I have been in this body for 14 years. I have never heard anyone offer an amendment to defund the cooperative extension program, even though it costs $400 million a year and benefits less than 2 percent of the workforce in this country.

At the same time, I have met a number of people, and apparently including some in the administration, who want to kill the MEP program, which is only $100 million a year and benefits industries that employ 14 percent of the workers in this Nation.

[Time: 14:00]

Now, how can it make sense to want to keep a $400 million program that maintains a workforce of less than 2 million, and kill a program that costs one-fourth as much and helps about eight times as many workers? It doesn't make sense. So that argument is simply out the window.

If we do like the Cooperative Extension Service, we should approve the manufacturing extension partnership, which is of exactly the same nature and is designed to help small- to medium-sized manufacturers develop more jobs in our economy.

Madam Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.

2:01 PM EDT

David Wu, D-OR 1st

Mr. WU. First, I would like to thank the gentleman from Michigan for his hard work on this legislation. I would further like to thank the gentleman for responding to the factually erroneous statements in the statement of administrative position, and I deeply appreciate the correction for the record.

Madam Chair, I recognize my good friend from New Jersey (Mr. Pascrell) for 3 1/2 minutes.

2:05 PM EDT

Bill Pascrell Jr., D-NJ 8th

Mr. PASCRELL. Madam Chair, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1868, the Technology Innovation and Manufacturing Stimulation Act of 2007, and I wish to congratulate the sponsor of this fine legislation, the chairman of Subcommittee on Technology Innovation, Congressman DAVID WU, and his ranking member, who understandably is not here today, Mr. Gingrey.

I especially am supportive of the provisions of the bill that reauthorize and strengthen the Manufacturing Extension Program. This is very critical. I hope people were listening to Mr. Ehlers, who very cogently spoke and defined what this legislation is all about. [Page: H4454]

Madam Chair, I represent a district with a long and proud history of manufacturing that goes all the way back to Alexander Hamilton and the birth of the American industry in Paterson, New Jersey. Sadly, we have seen the steady decline of our manufacturing base in America as the state of our competitiveness has fallen behind foreign nations.

The MEP program, the Manufacturing Extension Program, is one of the most successful programs funded by the Federal Government today, and it has provided hope to our Nation's manufacturers. It is a nationwide network of not-for-profit centers in nearly 350 locations, serving all 50 States and Puerto Rico, whose sole purpose is to provide small- and medium-sized manufacturers with the services they need for success.

The president of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Bob Loderstedt, captures this program best when he said, ``We have a public sector mission accomplished with a private sector mind-set.''

I am proud to say that this legislation today will increase funding by 8 percent per year and double the funding over 10 years, so that more small manufacturers will be able to better compete in the global marketplace.

The MEP is certainly no Federal handout. Indeed, it is a public-private partnership for strong manufacturing growth, and these statistics bear this out: In fiscal year 2004 alone, MEP activities directly resulted in almost $2 billion in new sales and more than 12,000 jobs. MEP's ability to analyze the weaknesses of each manufacturer resulted in $721 million in cost savings. It also led to $941 million worth of investment and modernization to meet the future needs of manufacturers.

I have seen firsthand the benefits of the New Jersey MEP as provided for manufacturers, and similar throughout the entire Nation. I believe that this is a very wise investment for us, and we can secure our Nation's manufacturing base. I urge my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to vote in favor of this vital legislation.

In conclusion, Madam Chair, let me say this. I think this is the beginning of finally having a manufacturing policy in this country. That is why we have seen the demise of manufacturing. Alexander Hamilton was right, we have a multifaceted economy; and we must understand, that won the battle and the debate with Thomas Jefferson. We cannot be one economy here. This is a multifaceted economy, and this is good for manufacturing, this is good for America, this is good for our small businesses.

2:06 PM EDT

Christopher "Chris" S. Murphy, D-CT 5th

Mr. MURPHY of Connecticut. Madam Chair, my thanks to my friend, Mr. Wu, for leading this debate today. I rise today in strong support of H.R. 1868, the Technology Innovation and Manufacturing Stimulation Act.

The time has come for our country as a whole to stop ceding progress in science and technology to our competitors overseas. As one of the younger Members of this Chamber, I know that it is this generation's responsibility to keep our country competitive with countries like Japan, China, and India, whose young scientists and engineers are making new technological discoveries every day.

H.R. 1868 is part of the Speaker's Innovation Agenda to address how the United States should create a new generation of innovative thinkers and an educated, skilled workforce in science, math, engineering, and information technology. This bill makes a sustained commitment to Federal research and development, and will promote private sector innovation and provide small businesses with the tools to encourage entrepreneurial innovation and job creation throughout the country.

The Innovation Agenda is of particular importance to me as the Representative to Connecticut's Fifth District. We used to be the vanguard of manufacturing in the Fifth District; it is the home of Stanley Tool, of Scoville Brass, Torrington Ball Bearing Company, the fashioner of ball bearings where my grandfather and great-grandfather worked.

The days of those large manufacturing plants, at least in the Fifth Congressional District, are days of the past. However, my district now stands at the precipice of a new manufacturing era.

As I travel around my district, I am struck by how many small, high-tech manufacturers are setting up shop in this corner of the world. For example, in Torrington, high-tech companies are sprouting up on the grounds of the former Torrington Ball Bearing plant. In Danbury, in the shadow of a deserted hat manufacturing plant, a company that specializes in homeland security devices is growing. And in Waterbury, at an old brass factory, Luvata is making wire for an international consortium creating

the world's first nuclear fusion device.

These small manufacturers are struggling every day with rising electricity costs and a lack of qualified workers to fill their growing job demands. This is why the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, a national network of local centers that are set up to help these small manufacturers, are so critical to my district and districts like mine. This program is an effective public-private partnership that helps to leverage State and Federal dollars into private investment funds for these

smaller manufacturers.

The importance of small manufacturers to America cannot be overstated. It is these small manufacturing plants where the most innovative work is being done. That is why I am so proud of where the Fifth District stands as it is ready to lead in this new era.

Lastly, I just would like to voice my support for the Baldrige National Quality Program, named for former Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige. The awards given by the President to businesses that live by Mr. Baldrige's strong belief and quality of performance standards, his widow, Midge Baldrige of Woodbury, Connecticut, and a friend. It is an honor to represent her.

I thank the gentleman for the time, I thank his efforts on this measure, and I urge passage this afternoon here in the House.

2:08 PM EDT

Christopher "Chris" S. Murphy, D-CT 5th

Mr. MURPHY of Connecticut. Madam Chair, my thanks to my friend, Mr. Wu, for leading this debate today. I rise today in strong support of H.R. 1868, the Technology Innovation and Manufacturing Stimulation Act.

The time has come for our country as a whole to stop ceding progress in science and technology to our competitors overseas. As one of the younger Members of this Chamber, I know that it is this generation's responsibility to keep our country competitive with countries like Japan, China, and India, whose young scientists and engineers are making new technological discoveries every day.

H.R. 1868 is part of the Speaker's Innovation Agenda to address how the United States should create a new generation of innovative thinkers and an educated, skilled workforce in science, math, engineering, and information technology. This bill makes a sustained commitment to Federal research and development, and will promote private sector innovation and provide small businesses with the tools to encourage entrepreneurial innovation and job creation throughout the country.

The Innovation Agenda is of particular importance to me as the Representative to Connecticut's Fifth District. We used to be the vanguard of manufacturing in the Fifth District; it is the home of Stanley Tool, of Scoville Brass, Torrington Ball Bearing Company, the fashioner of ball bearings where my grandfather and great-grandfather worked.

The days of those large manufacturing plants, at least in the Fifth Congressional District, are days of the past. However, my district now stands at the precipice of a new manufacturing era.

As I travel around my district, I am struck by how many small, high-tech manufacturers are setting up shop in this corner of the world. For example, in Torrington, high-tech companies are sprouting up on the grounds of the former Torrington Ball Bearing plant. In Danbury, in the shadow of a deserted hat manufacturing plant, a company that specializes in homeland security devices is growing. And in Waterbury, at an old brass factory, Luvata is making wire for an international consortium creating

the world's first nuclear fusion device.

These small manufacturers are struggling every day with rising electricity costs and a lack of qualified workers to fill their growing job demands. This is why the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, a national network of local centers that are set up to help these small manufacturers, are so critical to my district and districts like mine. This program is an effective public-private partnership that helps to leverage State and Federal dollars into private investment funds for these

smaller manufacturers.

The importance of small manufacturers to America cannot be overstated. It is these small manufacturing plants where the most innovative work is being done. That is why I am so proud of where the Fifth District stands as it is ready to lead in this new era.

Lastly, I just would like to voice my support for the Baldrige National Quality Program, named for former Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige. The awards given by the President to businesses that live by Mr. Baldrige's strong belief and quality of performance standards, his widow, Midge Baldrige of Woodbury, Connecticut, and a friend. It is an honor to represent her.

I thank the gentleman for the time, I thank his efforts on this measure, and I urge passage this afternoon here in the House.

2:09 PM EDT

Vernon J. Ehlers, R-MI 3rd

Mr. EHLERS. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Chair, I reiterate my strong support of H.R. 1868, the Technology Innovation and Manufacturing Stimulation Act.

This bill is a key part of the President's American competitive initiative, and I am pleased it moved through the Science and Technology Committee in a bipartisan manner, and also moved through speedily.

I thank the staff for their hard work on this bill, including Jenny Healy from Dr. Gingrey's office and Julia Jester from my office. I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 1868.

Madam Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.

2:10 PM EDT

David Wu, D-OR 1st

Mr. WU. Madam Chair, I also urge support for H.R. 1868. As I am frequently fond of saying, if you don't set standards for things, things don't match up. If you can't measure things, it is not real from a technologic or economic perspective.

The underlying legislation is crucial to America's competitiveness and our place in the world market.