Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today introduced the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015, a pro-science, fiscally responsible bill that will keep America competitive. The bill reestablishes the federal government’s primary scientific role to fund basic research. It increases funding for the science agencies that conduct fundamental discovery science by five percent. But the bill is also fiscally responsible, offsetting those increases with cuts to programs that focus on later-stage technology development and commercialization activities that are more effectively pursued by the private sector.
Chairman Smith: “To remain competitive, we need to make sure our priorities are funded and that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 funds innovative science and prioritizes taxpayer investments in basic research, without increasing overall spending. American researchers are falling behind in critical areas such as supercomputing and particle physics, and we risk losing our lead in nanotechnology, the health sciences, advanced nuclear reactor technology and other crucial areas. To reverse this trend, the America COMPETES Act increases investments for basic energy research at the Department of Energy (DOE), as well as critical research in biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering and mathematics at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Advances in these fields will drive innovation, create jobs and keep America’s economy strong.”
The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 provides targeted increases for: NSF research funding by over 4%; the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by over 8%; and DOE’s Office of Science by over 5% above 2015 enacted levels.
These increases are offset by cuts to DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), an office that’s seen its budget grow by nearly 60% in the last decade and that received over $16 billion in stimulus funding. EERE’s $2.7 billion budget request for fiscal year 2016 is more than double the budgets for nuclear, fossil, and electricity research and development at DOE combined.
Along with Chairman Smith, original cosponsors include: Vice-Chair Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Research and Technology Subcommittee Chair Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Energy Subcommittee Chair Randy Weber (R-Texas), Research and Technology Subcommittee Vice-Chair John Moolenaar (R-Mich.), Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), and Science Committee Members Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.), Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) and Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.).
The Committee is scheduled to consider the bill next Wednesday, April 22 at 10:15 a.m.