Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
The bill before us today, H.R. 5325 is almost an exact duplicate of the bill the House considered last week, H.R. 5116, including all 52 amendments adopted during floor consideration last week.
However, the bill differs in two respects:
(1) It includes language from the motion to recommit offered by the gentleman from Texas baring money from going to agency employees who are disciplined for viewing pornography at work; and,
(2) The authorization period for all programs in the bill has been changed from five years to three.
I understand the concern of many of my colleagues about the overall size of a five year authorization, and this reduction is my sincere attempt at compromising on an issue that is very important to me and our country. The bill before us today includes an overall funding reduction of almost 50 percent from H.R. 5116, as introduced.
I spoke at length about the background and need for this bill last week, so I’ll only give the highlights today.
On October 12, 2005, in response to a bipartisan, bicameral request by the Science Committee and our colleagues in the Senate, the National Academies announced the report Rising Above the Gathering Storm. The distinguished panel, led by Norm Augustine, painted a very scary picture and told us that without action, the future was bleak for our children and grandchildren. This report was without question a call to arms.
Congress responded by turning the Gathering Storm recommendations into legislative language. The final result was enactment of the America COMPETES Act of 2007 with the bipartisan support of 367 members.
Moreover, with the leadership of Senators Alexander and Bingaman, and 69 Senate cosponsors, the Senate approved the Conference Report by unanimous consent.
Now after 3 years we are back to work on reauthorizing COMPETES.
Since enactment of COMPETES, the Science and Technology Committee has held 48 hearings on areas addressed in the bill before us today.
What we’ve learned from those hearings is if we are to reverse the trend of the last twenty years, where our country’s technology edge in the world has diminished, we must make the necessary investments today.
The statistics speak for them themselves. More than 50 percent of our economic growth since World War II can be directly attributed to investments in research.
The path is simple. Research leads to innovation. Innovation leads to economic development and good paying jobs. And ultimately, creating good jobs is the goal of this bill.
During our Committee’s four markups, we accepted 25 amendments offered by the Minority, and in addition, many additional changes have been made at the suggestion of the Minority. I believe this is a good bill both on substance and the inclusive process. And it is a better bill because of the contributions of our members. I’d specifically like to thank my friend Ralph Hall for the cooperative spirit which he brings to the Science and Technology Committee.
I reserve the balance of my time.