Gordon, Democrats Call on Administration to Commit Resources Necessary

(Washington, DC)  U.S. House Science Committee Ranking Member Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) today called on the Administration to give highest priority to providing the resources necessary to ensure innovation and the U.S. job market keep pace with international competitors.

“America’s ability to compete and prosper in the global marketplace is at stake,” said Rep. Gordon.  “Our standard of living and quality of available jobs face an uncertain future without immediate action.”

“House Democrats’ Innovation Agenda is our vision for a stronger, more competitive America that reflects the spirit, optimism, and ingenuity of the American people,” added Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.  Through a renewed commitment to public-private partnerships, we will secure America’s continued scientific and technological leadership and unleash the next generation of discovery, invention, and growth.”

Ranking Member Gordon joined Leader Pelosi today for an Innovation Forum held at the Library of Congress.  The event underscored the Democrat’s commitment to strengthening U.S. competitiveness. 

Rep. Gordon led a panel on Education, Research and Development, and Broadband issues.  The opinion of both experts and legislators on the panel was clear.

“We need strong investment in R&D to develop new technologies and industries which support high-wage jobs.  We need strong investment in education to ensure we have the workforce to fill these jobs and keep them here in the U.S.   We need a comprehensive broadband policy that allows us to work more efficiently in leveraging our competitive advantage over lower-wage countries,” surmised Rep. Gordon. “It’s no fun playing catch-up and if we let our foreign competitors gain an edge, that’s exactly what we’ll be doing.”

A recent National Academy of Sciences report – Rising Above the Gathering Storm – found America appears to be on a “losing path” today with regard to our future competitiveness and standard of living.  The report identified four action areas that must be addressed in an effort to sustain U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace.  Ranking Member Gordon has introduced Congress’ first legislation implementing these action areas. 

The Gordon package of legislation includes H.R. 4434, 10,000 Teachers, 10 Million Minds Science and Math Scholarship Act; H.R. 4435, Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) Act; and H.R. 4596, Sowing the Seeds Through Science and Engineering Research Act. 

H.R. 4434 implements the National Academy Committee’s highest priority by providing scholarships to science, math and engineering students who commit to become science or math teachers at elementary and secondary schools.  It also includes programs to improve the skills of current teachers.  H.R. 4435 aims to reduce U.S. foreign energy dependence by 20% over a 10 year period.  H.R. 4596 aims to strengthen the U.S. commitment to scientific research by authorizing a 10% increases per year in funding for basic research in the physical sciences, mathematical sciences, and engineering at the principal federal agencies supporting such research.  These increases, if sustained, would lead to a doubling of basic research funding in these critical areas over 7 years. 

A fourth piece of legislation implementing the final recommendation of the National Academy panel is forthcoming.

“This panel discussion today shows the commitment from the Democratic Caucus to create quality jobs and improve U.S. competitiveness,” concluded Rep. Gordon.  “What we need now is a commitment from the Administration.  I urge the President to show his support for U.S. jobs by committing to act on this important issue.”

Information on the Gordon legislation and the Democrat’s Innovation Initiative can be found at http://sciencedems.house.gov.