|5:41 PM EDT||
Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-TX 30th
Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, so much of today's debate has been about how harmful the underlying legislation is for our Nation and how it violates every one of the principles of the original COMPETES bill. I am now pleased to be offering a positive way forward in the form of a substitute bill cosponsored by every Democratic member of the committee in addition to the minority leader, Mr. Hoyer.
I spoke earlier about the history of the COMPETES bill and the principles it has embodied since the Rising Above the Gathering Storm report set us on this path 10 years ago. The substitute amendment, which we introduced as H.R. 1898, stays true to one of these principles.
It sets targets that provide for steady and sustained real growth in funding for our research and development agencies. It makes a strong statement that the U.S. Congress sees funding for research across all fields of basic research as a top national priority. It does not include false and detrimental choices and tradeoffs among different fields of science and engineering. It ensures that scientific experts, not politicians, continue to set priorities for funding within and among different fields
of basic research and for individual grants.
The principles embodied in my substitute amendment continue a pact that the Federal Government made with our Nation's great research universities following our victory in World War II and the onset of the space race that led us to the creation of NSF and NASA.
This pact is what has made NSF, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, and the Department of Energy among the world's greatest and most admired research agencies.
Specifically, my amendment fully funds these agencies at the fiscal year 2016 request level and continues to provide 5 percent annual increases for 5 years. This modest investment is already a compromise, given the immense economic return on our basic research investments. The original Rising Above the Gathering Storm report called for even greater increases.
My amendment also reauthorizes and fully funds ARPA-E, which was created in the 2007 COMPETES Act and has exceeded every expectation for creating innovative new energy technologies and spurring private sector follow-on investment.
In addition, my amendment authorizes and funds important innovation programs at the Department of Commerce, including an innovation voucher pilot program that will help small- and medium-sized manufacturers across the country grow their businesses and create new jobs.
My amendment fully funds the standards work of NIST, in addition to their work to help accelerate growth in U.S. advanced manufacturing. We need to bring those manufacturing jobs back home, and we need to Make It In America. NIST is an essential partner in this effort.
Finally, my amendment takes seriously the issue of STEM education, including broadening participation in STEM. Our STEM language is not just senses of Congress about how important STEM is and other filler provisions.
Our language directs real important policy changes to help ensure that all U.S. students and researchers have the opportunity to fully develop their talents in STEM and pursue successful STEM careers.
We are facing a demographic imperative. If we do not find a way to turn around the underrepresentation of women and minorities in STEM fields, our Nation will fall well short of the skilled workforce our industries demand. Our substitute puts our money before where our mouth is when it comes to STEM and corrects a glaring deficit in the underlying legislation.
I am proud of my work that I have done on this committee for many years and of the contributions that many of my colleagues made to this substitute amendment. It truly is a COMPETES Reauthorization Act in every way.
I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to carefully consider the fork in the road before us. If you really want to do right by this great Nation and by our children and our grandchildren, you will vote for the substitute amendment and replace the underlying legislation with a positive path forward.
This amendment will open the doors for innovation and education for our Nation's future. It will not be trade, as many have said, that will cause us to lose these jobs; it will be our companies searching around the world looking for talent and innovation.
Look out for America's future. Vote for this amendment.
I reserve the balance of my time