Subcommittee Approves FIRST Act with Bipartisan Support

Mar 13, 2014

Washington, D.C. – The Subcommittee on Research and Technology today approved the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act (H.R. 4186) with bipartisan support. The bill reauthorizes and streamlines federal investments at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by funding research and development (R&D) to address national needs.  The bill also sets priorities to drive our nation’s investments in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs.  The Subcommittee adopted 9 Democratic amendments and favorably reported the bill by voice vote.

Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “The FIRST Act keeps America first in areas of science and research that are crucial to economic growth. Our bill focuses taxpayer investments for basic research in critical areas such as biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering and mathematics.  Advances in these fields drive innovation, create jobs and keep our economy strong. The FIRST Act also eliminates red tape, accelerates technology transfer and bolsters STEM education. A well-educated and trained STEM workforce promotes our future economic prosperity.  But we must encourage our nation’s youth to study science and engineering so they will want to pursue these careers. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as the FIRST Act moves forward to the full Science Committee for consideration in the coming weeks.”

Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.): “As a heart surgeon with a scientific background, I know the importance of basic research. Unfortunately, until entitlement programs are reformed and mandatory spending is addressed, no federal program that is dependent on discretionary appropriations is safe from funding cuts and we must ensure our dollars are stretched in the most efficient and effective way possible. The FIRST Act provides stronger accountability measures and transparency mechanisms, while still allowing flexibility for these agencies to fund and conduct basic research. The FIRST Act also pushes the administration to move to rationalize the overlapping, unnecessary, and expensive regulatory and compliance burdens that federal agencies put on our research community.  GAO reports upwards of 30% of federal research funds is spent on these burdens.”

Additional information about the bill can be found HERE.

For more information on today’s markup, including amendments and recorded votes, visit the Science, Space, and Technology website.