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October 17, 2019

Chairwoman Johnson’s Opening Statement for Markup of H.R. 4091, H.R. 2051, and H.R. 1709

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is marking up H.R. 4091, the “ARPA-E Reauthorization Act of 2019”, H.R. 2051, the “Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2019”, and H.R. 1709, the “Science Integrity Act.”

 Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D-TX) opening statement for the record is below.

Good morning and welcome to today’s markup of three good bills.

 I am very pleased that we are considering the bipartisan ARPA-E Reauthorization Act of 2019 this morning. ARPA-E stewards the development of high-risk, high-reward energy technologies that neither the private sector nor other DOE programs had previously been willing or able to support. After demonstrating a strong record of success over its first ten years in operation, and successfully passing numerous independent, bipartisan, and nonpartisan assessments over the last several years, it is clear ARPA-E has been a successful program. This bill will enable ARPA-E to truly fulfill its potential to help transform our nation’s energy infrastructure for a far cleaner and more prosperous future.

 The next bill we will consider is H.R. 2051, the Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2019, which is sponsored by the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Lipinski. The Research and Technology Subcommittee held a hearing in July to explore the challenges and opportunities in sustainable chemistry. The Committee heard from an expert panel of witnesses about the need for more research and technology development, improved chemistry education, and enhanced Federal agency coordination to encourage the use of sustainable chemicals and processes throughout the chemical science and engineering enterprise. All of the witnesses spoke in support of H.R. 2051.

 This bipartisan bill is a good step to advancing the chemical innovations we need to reduce our reliance on substances that are hazardous to human health and the environment. I want to thank Mr. Lipinski for his leadership on this important issue. I’ll also take a moment to mention that this bill has a companion in the Senate which is sponsored by Senator Coons. I know he is committed to moving this legislation forward, and hopefully he can help us to get this important legislation enacted this Congress.

 Last, we will consider H.R. 1709, the Scientific Integrity Act. I want to thank Mr. Tonko for his leadership on this legislation, which began in 2016 when he sought to codify the scientific integrity policies put in place under the Obama Administration for all agencies that fund, conduct, and oversee scientific research. Those policies were developed in response to a 2010 memorandum from the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which in turn was in response to a requirement in the 2007 America COMPETES Act. This legislation brings our 2007 effort full circle by spelling out in law the core principles of a Federal agency scientific integrity policy. There are many specific principles addressing openness, transparency, and due process. At their essence, they are about protecting federal science and scientists from undue political influence and ensuring that the public can trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions. H.R. 1709 has 218 cosponsors and has earned the endorsements of 60 organizations. This is important legislation, regardless of which party is in the White House, and I urge my colleagues to support it.

 I’d like to also take a moment to observe that we will be considering extensive amendments to each of these bills, offered by all three bill sponsors. All of these amendments were formed with input from outside stakeholders and also extensive negotiations with Ranking Member Lucas and his staff. I greatly appreciate his efforts to reach bipartisan agreements, and the efforts of both of our staffs to work together.

 It sometimes seems like “compromise” has become a dirty word in this town. I will be the first to acknowledge that compromise can be less-than-satisfying. But I do not believe that our constituents sent us here to posture.

 There are real problems that need to be solved, and those problems won’t be addressed if Democrats and Republicans always go their separate ways. I hope that the Science Committee will continue to be a place where people from both sides of the aisle can come together to pass good legislation, and I look forward to doing that today.