Rep. Garamendi Urges House Republicans to Stop Obstructing Essential Scientific Research & Science Education Investments
Recently Bipartisan COMPETES Act Supported by
Business Groups, Scientists, Educators, and All Democrats
WALNUT GROVE, CA – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), a member of the House Science and Technology Committee, today called on House Republicans to stop threatening America’s global competitiveness by ending their obstruction of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act. Because of procedural reasons, the bill to fund critical scientific research and education required a two-thirds vote yesterday, a margin it failed to reach due to almost unanimous Republican opposition.
"There are some priorities that are too important to be derailed by partisan machinations, our nation’s investments in science research and education among them," said Congressman Garamendi. "When the COMPETES Authorization Act was passed with broad bipartisan support and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007, Congress appropriately demonstrated that our global competitiveness remains an important priority. A scant three years later, with COMPETES coming up for reauthorization, Republicans in the House are now demonstrating that they’d rather score cheap partisan 'victories' than demonstrate real leadership."
In 2007, the COMPETES Act passed the House with 143 Republican votes and passed the Senate via unanimous consent. Of the 101 Republicans who voted for it in 2007 who are still in Congress, only 13 voted for it this time around.
"[The America COMPETES Act] shares many of the goals of my American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI)," President George W. Bush explained in 2007 when signing COMPETES into law. "ACI is one of my most important domestic priorities because it provides a comprehensive strategy to help keep America the most innovative nation in the world by strengthening our scientific education and research, improving our technological enterprise, and providing 21st century job training."
A recent report titled "Sparking Economic Growth: How federally funded university research creates innovation, new companies and jobs" was released by the Science Coalition, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization of 45 of the nation’s leading public and private research universities. The report identifies 100 companies that are the result of federal investments in basic research, including Google, Genentech, A123 Systems, and Arbor Networks. The companies collectively employ well over 100,000 people and have annual revenues approaching $100 billion.
"The COMPETES Reauthorization Act was supported by hundreds of business groups and scientific organizations, because it includes critical investments in STEM education, industry redefining research, and public-private technology partnerships," Garamendi added. "Most House Republicans have moved from the loyal opposition to something altogether more sinister, and for the sake of this great country, I hope they change their tune soon."
Over 750 organizations have endorsed COMPETES, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Information Technology Industry Council, the American Chemical Society, the Business Roundtable, the Council on Competitiveness, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the National Venture Capital Association, TechAmerica, and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
The COMPETES Act includes a number of provisions critical to boosting American competitiveness, including:
- Increasing funding available for basic scientific research, laying the building blocks for new technologies;
- Creating new Energy Innovation Hubs, multidisciplinary collaborations supporting the research, development, and commercial application of advanced energy technologies;
- Providing innovative technology federal loan guarantees for small- and medium-sized manufacturers, helping them access the capital they need to innovate and create jobs;
- Reauthorizing the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (APRA-E) which is pursuing highly advanced, high reward energy technology development. Created in 2009, ARPA-E is modeled after DARPA which created a culture of innovation and lead to breakthroughs like GPS and the Internet; and
- Providing grants to increase the number of quality students receiving degrees in STEM at all levels of college education and increasing the number of scholarships available to secondary teachers in STEM fields to teach in high need schools.