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Press Releases :: January 26, 2011

Ranking Member Johnson Responds to the President's State of the Union Address

Washington, D.C.  January 26, 2011.  In response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), whose committee has jurisdiction over almost all non-defense federal research and development, issued the following statement:

“I applaud the President’s ongoing commitment to investments in innovation as a key to our nation’s competitiveness.  While we need to get serious about reducing our deficit, our nation’s long-term economic prosperity depends on the investments in research, technology, and education that we make now. One need only look at the benefits our nation has gained from past investments in such areas as energy, information technologies, environmental research, and our civil space and aeronautics programs to realize that these are investments with a guaranteed return—and we must not shrink from making them if we are to ensure a better future for our children.  In addition to supporting research, we must empower scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to turn R&D into new technologies, new businesses, and new jobs.  

“As the President mentioned, this is particularly true in the area of clean energy.  In order to support our energy independence and security, we must boost our commitment to clean energy research and the development of new clean energy technologies.  It is also critical that we continue to reinvent the way government fosters innovation and encourages growth in clean energy technologies through programs such as the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E).

“At the same time, we must invest in education, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, to ensure that our children develop the skills necessary to compete for the jobs of the future.  Yesterday’s release of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science results was yet another sobering reminder of how much work there is still to do.  In 2005, and again in 2010, the National Academies called for the training of 10,000 new STEM teachers per year.  Last night, the President echoed that call.  This is a concrete, achievable goal.  Congress took the first step toward achieving this goal when we passed the bipartisan America COMPETES Act.  But we can’t stop there.

“As the President said, “We do big things”.  However we must work hard if we want to continue to do big things in this country and remain the most innovative and sustainable economy in the world.  I look forward to continuing work with the Administration and with my colleagues on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee to achieve our common goal of securing our global technological leadership and economic competitiveness.”

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