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Press Releases :: May 12, 2009

House Passes Bill to Strengthen Planning, Coordination of IT R&D, to Maintain U.S. Leadership

(Washington, DC) — Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2020, the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act of 2009 by a voice vote.

“Our nearly 20-year investment in the NITRD program has helped create jobs across all sectors of our economy and contributed immeasurably to our economic and national security,” said bill author and House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN). “Given how rapidly these fields evolve, a comprehensive look at the NITRD program by Congress is timely.”

H.R. 2020 strengthens interagency planning, coordination, and prioritization for NITRD by requiring the development and periodic update of a strategic plan informed by both industry and academia. This plan is meant to create a vision for networking and information technology R&D across the federal government, and provide specific metrics for measuring progress toward that vision.

“To ensure that we make the most effective use of our resources and to remain a leader in these fields, it is critical that the agencies that comprise NITRD come together to develop common goals and well-defined strategies,” said Gordon.

The bill also calls for increased support of large-scale, long-term, interdisciplinary research in networking and information technology that will help the U.S. tackle national challenges.

“These large-scale, long-term investments can provide substantial benefits to society such as improving the effectiveness and efficiency of our healthcare and energy delivery systems,” added Gordon.

H.R. 2020 also promotes partnerships between the federal government, academia and industry to foster technology transfer. Additionally, it creates a task force to explore mechanisms for carrying out collaborative R&D activities in cyber-physical systems; formally establishes the National Coordination Office, which provides technical and administrative support to the program; and it ensures that the education of the future NIT workforce remains an important component of the program.

Cosponsors included: Committee Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX); Research and Science Education Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Ranking Member Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), and Vice Chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH); Technology and Innovation Subcommittee Chairman David Wu (D-OR), Ranking Member Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Vice Chairman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM); Energy and Environment Vice Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY); Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL).

The legislation was endorsed by IBM; the Association for Computing Machinery; the Computing Research Association; IEEE-USA; and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

The House also passed H. Res. 387, supporting the goals and ideals of National Hurricane Preparedness Week by a voice vote.

“Katrina was a sobering lesson in the importance of hurricane preparedness. It is vital that federal, state, and local governments work together to better prepare the coastal communities for these powerful storms,” said Gordon. “Part of this effort is educating the public about hurricanes and hurricane preparedness. The National Hurricane Center at NOAA, is a critical resource in this effort. In addition to providing us with the hurricane forecasting information that coastal communities all rely on, the National Hurricane Center also focuses considerable effort in educating coastal communities about hurricane preparedness.”

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

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News from the House Science and Technology Committee
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