Committee on Science and Technology
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Press Releases :: December 18, 2008

Chairman Gordon Discusses Agenda, the Role of Innovation in Creating New Jobs

(Washington, DC) – Today, Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) discussed the House Science and Technology Committee’s agenda for the 111th Congress. Chairman Gordon discussed the legislative highlights of the 110th Congress, newly designated Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu, and the importance of innovation and the development of new energy technologies to strengthen our economy and global competitiveness.

“There’s a misperception that we cannot afford to invest in science because of the current economic conditions.  I believe that investing in science and developing new technologies is the path to reinvigorating our economy, growing jobs, meeting our energy needs, and helping us address climate change,” stated Gordon

The Chairman vowed to work with the new Administration to implement the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E).  ARPA-E will apply the successful DARPA research model to energy technology development.  ARPA-E is tasked with undertaking high-risk, high-reward energy technology development, especially research that is too cross-cutting or multi-disciplinary to fit into the current system, and partnering with the best talent in the private sector, universities, and the national labs.

“Innovation will play a critical role in maintaining our competitiveness,” added Gordon. “About half of the growth of GDP over the past 50 years is a result of developing and adopting new technologies.  ARPA-E will foster innovation that will lead to technological breakthroughs.  It is uniquely positioned to be the bridge to the new energy economy.”

Chairman Gordon mentioned some potential Committee recommendations for the stimulus.  Depending on the final parameters for the package, one option could be investments in Health IT, which would create jobs now and save money and lives in the long-run.  The Chairman discussed the Committee’s role working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to create standards that will ensure interoperability and security.

The Chairman voiced his support for a balanced portfolio at NASA that includes initiatives in Earth and space science, aeronautics, and human space flight and exploration.

The Chairman also discussed the role of the Committee in some of the larger issues facing the 111th Congress, such as emissions regulations.  “R&D will play a critical role in the effectiveness of any regulations,” said Gordon.  “If we pass cap and trade, we’ll need reliable technologies to monitor reporting and compliance with greenhouse gas emission limits.”

Of the newly designated Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu, Chairman Gordon said:  “I’m thrilled that the President Elect chose someone from the science community, someone who speaks our language. Dr. Chu’s nomination is an indication the incoming Administration will hold science in the highest regard.  Dr. Chu is one of our nation’s leading thinkers on innovative energy research programs. I couldn’t agree more with him about the need to develop new technologies to solve our energy problems.”

During the 110th Congress, the House Science and Technology Committee passed 82 bills in the House – 37 resolutions passed, 27 bills were enacted into law, and 18 bills passed the House without Senate action.

For more information or a copy of the agenda, please visit the Committee’s website.   



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