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America Competes Reauthorization Act of 2010

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GORDON of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

On October 12, 2005, in response to a bipartisan request by the Science and Technology Committee and some of our colleagues in the Senate, LAMAR ALEXANDER and JEFF BINGAMAN, the National Academies released their report, ``Rising Above the Gathering Storm.'' The distinguished panel painted a very scary picture. The report made it clear that, without action, the future was bleak for our children and grandchildren. This report was, without question, a call to arms.

September of this year, Norm Augustine released, ``Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5.'' The updated report highlights progress that has been made in the past 5 years, including enactment of the original America COMPETES Act, but he underscores that America's competitive position in the world now faces greater challenges and that research investments are even more critical today.

The message from the report is clear: We need to double-down on our investments in science and technology. The worst thing we could do would be to downshift while the rest of the world kicks it into high gear.

As chairman of the Gathering Storm Committee and former chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, Norm Augustine said, in all the years he was an aircraft engineer and dealing with the common dilemma of trying to make an overweight aircraft fly, the solution was never to lop off an engine. Science funding is the engine of a knowledge-based economy. If we remove it, our economy will crash and burn.

More than half of our economic growth since World War II can be attributed to development and adoption of new technologies. These investments are the path towards sustained economic recovery and growth and the path toward prosperity for the next 50 years. There is an undeniable relationship between investment in R&D and the creation of jobs, the creation of companies, and economic growth.

The Science Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of the Nation's leading research universities, released a report entitled, ``Sparking Economic Growth: How Federally Funded University Research Creates Innovation, New Companies and Jobs.'' This report tells the stories of 100 companies, including Google, Cisco, SAS, Genentech, Orbital Sciences, Sun Power, Medtronic, Hewlett Packard, and many others, that were all created based on research funded with Federal dollars.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Council on Competitiveness, and the Task Force on American Innovation all understand the benefits to U.S. companies of making a sustained commitment to research and STEM education. We have a huge opportunity before us to make progress toward that goal.

While there have been concessions made in light of the economic environment, this bill preserves the intent of the ``Rising Above the Gathering Storm'' report and the original COMPETES. It keeps our basic research agencies on a doubling path. It continues to invest in high-risk, high-reward energy technology development. It will help improve STEM education, and it will help unleash the American spirit of innovation. COMPETES is, and will continue to be, a bipartisan, bicameral effort about which every Member can feel proud.

I applaud all of the people who have worked on this bill, including all the members of the Science and Technology Committee and my dear friend, RALPH HALL. This has been a team effort, across the aisle and across the Capitol.

I also want to take a moment to extend a sincere and heartfelt thank you to the staff of the Committee on Science and Technology, both minority and majority. Their tireless efforts in crafting the House version of this legislation, working through the tough spots, and shepherding it to final passage today deserves special acknowledgment. Without them, this reauthorization of COMPETES would not have been possible.

We are all familiar with the legions of smart, talented professionals who grace the corridors of this institution, and I am sure each of us is impressed on a regular basis with the knowledge and expertise of the staff we work with most closely. However, I am always amazed by the wealth of knowledge lodged with the staff of the Science and Technology Committee. I simply can't say enough about the staff's talent, insight, and institutional knowledge. Their hard work has made the Science Committee more productive, and it has made me a better chairman.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud that, in the two terms that I have had the privilege to lead the Science and Technology Committee, the committee has had 151 bills and resolutions pass the House, all with bipartisan support. But there is nothing that I am more proud of than the America COMPETES Act. There is nothing that we have done

that will have deeper, longer lasting, and more positive impacts on our Nation than this bill.

I cannot think of anything I would rather be doing, on what is likely my final act on this House floor after 26 years of service, than sending this bill to the President's desk. It's important to me personally because I have a 9-year-old daughter, and if we do not want our children and grandchildren to inherit a national standard of living less than their parents, a reversal of the American Dream, we need to support research, foster innovation, and improve education.

The business community has urged us to pass this bill to support research, foster innovation, and improve education. The academic community has urged us to pass this bill to support research, foster innovation, and improve education. The scientific community has urged us to pass this bill to support research, foster innovation, and improve education. And every one of our colleagues in the Senate has agreed that this bill needs to be sent to the President's desk so the U.S. can support research, foster innovation, and improve education and create 21st century jobs.

I urge my colleagues to stand with the business community, the academic community, the scientific community, and to send a strong message that the U.S. must maintain its scientific and economic leadership.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

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