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February 01, 2022

Chairwoman Johnson Testifies Before House Committee on Rules in Support of America COMPETES Act

(Washington, DC) – Today, House Committee on Rules is considering H.R. 4521, the America COMPETES Act of 2022. Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology testified in support of the America COMPETES Act of 2022, which includes transformative, bipartisan legislation from the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

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

Chairman McGovern, Ranking Member Cole, and Members of the Rules Committee, while I am a cosponsor of the entire America COMPETES Act, I am particularly proud of the bipartisan research and innovation initiatives that are included in Division B of this Act. It is abundantly clear that if America is to meet the challenges that it is facing, we are going to need to preserve and strengthen our national capacity for innovation. That is going to require investments in our federal research agencies, measures to prepare and diversify our scientific and technological workforce so that it can effectively compete in the 21st century, and measures to help all our regions play a constructive role in both innovating and in manufacturing the products that will keep us world leaders.

The provisions contained in Division B of the America COMPETES Act, taken collectively, provide a blueprint for revitalizing our competitiveness through research and innovation. First, the Act contains authorizations for three of the nation’s major research agencies: the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The authorizations will help jump start R&D in a number of critical areas ranging from the next generation of energy storage, fusion energy, artificial intelligence, quantum information systems, engineering biology, sustainable chemistry, support for advanced manufacturing, and many, many other areas.

Critically important as those investments are, we cannot afford to neglect the STEM workforce that will be needed to carry out the research and development initiatives that this Act will enable. Thus, the America COMPETES Act contains a set of provisions directly targeted at ensuring we will have the best and most diverse STEM workforce possible. A simple listing of the bipartisan bills that comprise those provisions will give you an idea of what I mean:

  • The Rural STEM Education Research Act, to increase STEM education opportunities in rural areas;
  • The MSI STEM Achievement Act, to improve the quality of undergraduate STEM Education and increase the research capacity of the nation’s HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and other Minority Serving Institutions;
  • The Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act, to address sexual and gender harassment in the STEM fields;
  • The Supporting Early-Career Researchers Act, to help recent PhD graduates cope with the disruptions caused to their research and careers by the covid pandemic; and
  • The STEM Opportunities Act, to identify and lower barriers facing women, minorities, and other groups underrepresented in STEM studies and research careers.

In addition, Division B, contains a number of other important measures to advance bioeconomy R&D, promote regional innovation, support technology transfer in the energy sector, and revitalize microelectronics R&D.

And I want to emphasize that all of the provisions I have mentioned passed out of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and in most cases also out of the House, on a bipartisan basis. We took the best ideas from both Republican and Democratic Members as we crafted the bills that make up this Division, and the result is a very strong package that will do much to advance our competitiveness and our capacity for innovation.

Finally, I also want to mention the CHIPS provisions in Division A of the America COMPETES Act. These provisions, which are in large part also included in the Senate’s competitiveness bill, and which were authorized in a prior National Defense Authorization Act, are directed at ensuring that America continues to lead in semiconductor research and fabrication, and that more semiconductors are produced back here in America. The CHIPS Act provisions are important, and they are sorely needed.

In closing, I believe that the science and technology provisions of the America COMPETES Act of 2022 are thoughtful, balanced, and critically important for continued American competitiveness and leadership in research and innovation, and I urge all Members to support the Act.

Thank you.

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