Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1806), a pro-science, fiscally responsible bill to keep America competitive and reestablish the federal government’s primary scientific role to fund basic research. While not increasing overall spending, the bill increases funding for the science agencies that conduct fundamental discovery science by five percent, offsetting those increases with cuts to programs that focus on later-stage technology development and commercialization activities more effectively pursued by the private sector. H.R. 1806 was introduced by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and cosponsored by Vice-Chair Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and all five subcommittee chairs.
Chairman Smith: “We must make strategic investments in basic research and development to remain the global leader in science and innovation. The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 prioritizes taxpayer investments in basic research without increasing overall federal spending. The reprioritization of basic research will help ensure future U.S. economic competitiveness and security. And it will spur private sector technological innovation. The bill also ensures accountability by restoring the original intent of the 1950 National Science Foundation (NSF) legislation, which requires the NSF to adhere to a ‘national interest’ certification for each grant. This is a fiscally responsible, pro-science bill that sets the right priorities for federal civilian research.”
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 NSF. While holding overall spending flat, the bill provides targeted increases for NSF research by over 4 percent; the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by over 8 percent; and DOE’s Office of Science by over 5 percent above 2015 enacted levels.
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.), Environment Subcommittee Chairman Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), 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).
Additionally, Chairman Smith and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today issued a joint statement expressing their intention to work together reauthorizing agencies under the America COMPETES Act.
For more information about today’s markup, including amendments and roll call votes, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.