|5:04 PM EDT||
Chaka Fattah, D-PA 2nd
Mr. FATTAH. Madam Chair, I want to acknowledge the great work of the gentleman from Texas on patent reform. We worked together and he led the effort that has reformed our patent system, I think, in a remarkable way.
The majority leader and I spent some time on one of the last vote days here to go over to NIH and hear from Dr. Collins about great research, particularly interested in pediatric cancers and the like.
So these are two gentlemen, the authors of this amendment, who have been very positive and focused in a number of areas that I share with them. However, this amendment is misguided, and I want to speak in opposition to it.
The notion that we would want to eliminate certain investigations by the National Science Foundation into economic science or behavioral science, when we talk about disasters, the reason why we have saved so many lives, it is not just that we have improved weather forecasting, even though that would be eliminated in terms of the moneys here for investigative purposes by the National Science Foundation, but also understanding the behaviors of people facing disasters is very important. That would
This area of posttraumatic stress is a critical area. We know now that many of our returning soldiers face posttraumatic stress, but we also know that children living in very difficult circumstances in our country are more traumatized than if they were living in a war zone, an active war zone in another country. So eliminating, cutting back scientific investigations in this regard would be, I think, disastrous.
That is why I am hoping that whatever is causing this, there will be some reversal of it eventually. But in the meantime, I want to suggest to the House that we should oppose this amendment, we should oppose the notion that somehow we don't want to know certain things.
I was at the University of Pittsburgh. I saw some results of National Science Foundation funding that started out 30 years ago that a Member on this floor would be on the floor complaining about now. It was the examination of what happens in the neurons of a monkey when they move their arm, what neurons fire off in their brain.
Well, that research today, 30 years later, literally has a woman who, because of a disease, has no control of her body, but can now move an artificial arm through her thoughts. This is the result of research by the National Science Foundation. It is the world premier basic science foundation, it is the model for our economic competitors. They are imitating it.
A small country like Singapore with less than 5 million people is investing $7 billion in their national science foundation. Here we are, the wealthiest country in the world, and we are putting $7.4 billion, which is the highest ever, and I thank the chairman.
But now we want to put handcuffs on the agency about what it is that they can look at in terms of improving the life chances of Americans. The research has paid off. That is why we are the great country that we are today. The World Economic Forum says our Nation and our Nation's economy is driven by innovation.
The last thing that we should be doing on the floor of this House is equivocating or compromising or making it more challenging for those who are engaged in the innovation ecosystem to do their work.
Even though I compliment the gentleman, Mr. Smith, and the majority [Page: H4959]
leader, Mr. Cantor, for all their efforts, I can't imagine for the life of me why we would be on this floor tonight debating a retreat on behavioral science, on economic science. It makes no sense. I would hope that the House, notwithstanding the fact that the majority is held by the other team, I hope in this instance, as the chairman said, we would realize that this
is not a competition between Democrats and Republicans. We are competing against countries that have big and plus populations like China and India, they want to eat our lunch economically, and what we need to do is stop the bickering back and forth and figure out what is best for our country.
The chairman and I voted for Simpson-Bowles. We were one of just less than 40 Members who did so. I might be in the minority on this vote, but I am going to vote on what is in the best interest of our Nation, and that is to continue to invest in innovation.
I yield back the balance of my time.
The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith).
The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes appeared to have it.