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Statement by Task Force on American Innovation on H.R. 1806, Reauthorizing America Competes Act

Following is a statement by the Task Force on American Innovation on H.R. 1806, legislation that would reauthorize the America COMPETES Act.

The Task Force on American Innovation is a coalition of businesses and business organizations, scientific societies, and university organizations that advocates for robust funding for scientific research and development at key federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

On behalf of its members, the Task Force wishes to comment on H.R. 1806, the bill the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will consider this week to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act. COMPETES authorizes the research programs of agencies vital to both the long-term strength of the economy and to America’s role as the global leader in innovation. The Committee’s work over the last three years on this legislation demonstrates its interest in these objectives.

We acknowledge the challenging constraints currently imposed by the discretionary spending caps set by the Budget Control Act as well as the House rule requiring that increases to authorization levels be offset. We appreciate the overall funding increases authorized in this legislation for the NSF, the DOE Office of Science, and research areas of critical importance to American innovation. However, we have serious concerns about the consequences of major cuts to DOE programs, including Biological and Environmental Research, ARPA-E, and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, as well as funding for the NSF’s Social, Behavioral, and Economics Sciences and Geosciences directorates.

We encourage the Committee to avoid significant cuts, and we support efforts to increase the overall level of research spending in the bill. We are concerned that a lack of new resources for research, at a time when our economic competitors are investing heavily in R&D, is creating an innovation deficit for the United States that threatens our global leadership in innovation and our international competitiveness. The programs included in this bill, if funded robustly, will play an important role in sustaining that leadership for many years into the future. We look forward to working together with the Committee on these critical issues to maintain America's global innovation leadership.