Committee on Science and Technology
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Press Releases :: January 28, 2009

House Passes Recovery Package, including Investments to Strengthen Competitiveness, Economy with Science and Technology

(Washington, DC) – Today the U.S. House of Representatives approved HR 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including substantial investments in science and Technology.

“The investments in science and technology in the recovery package are timely and targeted.  They will create high-quality jobs in the short term while making strides to strengthen American competitiveness over the long-term, including improving access to clean, affordable energy,” Committee on Science and Technology Chair Bart Gordon (D-TN).

“We need to create jobs now, certainly, but if we do not address one of the roots of the economic collapse—our competitiveness—we could create jobs now, only to lose them in the future to foreign competition.”

Investments in science and technology include:

  • Funding to establish the Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) to support high-risk, high-reward research into energy sources and energy efficiency. ARPA-E will apply to energy technologies the successful research model of the Department of Defense’s DARPA, which gave us breakthroughs like GPS, body armor, and the internet.  Just as DARPA formed the underpinnings of the multi-billion dollar defense industry, ARPA-E is uniquely positioned to be the bridge to the new energy economy—and with it, “green” jobs.
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) funding for competitive construction grants for research science buildings at colleges, universities, and other research organizations and to coordinate research efforts of laboratories and national research facilities by setting standards for manufacturing.  It includes Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a federal/state/private partnership to provide technical assistance to small manufacturers throughout the country, and Technology Innovation Program (TIP), which provides financial assistance so small high-tech entrepreneurial to develop and bring new technologies to the marketplace.
  • Reliable, Efficient Electricity Grid investments, a portion of which is will promote research and development, pilot projects, and federal matching funds for the Smart Grid Investment Program to modernize the electricity grid making it more efficient, secure, and reliable.
  • Funding for Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Carbon Capture and Sequestration research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities to foster energy independence, reduce carbon emissions, and cut utility bills.
  • At National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), funding that will to put more scientists to work doing climate change research, including Earth science research recommended by the National Academies, satellite sensors that measure solar radiation critical to understanding climate change, and a thermal infrared sensor to the Landsat Continuing Mapper necessary for water management, particularly in the western states.
  • Funding for research, development, and demonstration to improve aviation safety and Next Generation Air Traffic Control (NextGen) that will make air travel safer, more efficient, and less of an environmental impact.
  • Funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) for research grants that will put scientists to work and keep promising younger researchers in the pipeline, and for investments in cutting-edge research infrastructure and instrumentation at U.S. universities.

For more information, please see the Committee’s website.

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News from the House Science and Technology Committee
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Bart Gordon, Chairman
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