House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas has introduced comprehensive legislation that creates a long-term strategy for investment in basic research and infrastructure to protect the economic and national security of the United States.
H.R. 5685, the Securing American Leadership in Science and Technology Act (SALSTA), addresses two fundamental challenges facing the U.S.: Chinese threats to American science and technology leadership and a changing climate. (View legislative summary here).
Lucas emphasized the threat from China, which has increased public R&D funding by more than 50% between 2011 and 2016 while U.S. investment fell by 12% in absolute terms. “If China surpasses us in critical technologies like quantum information science, artificial intelligence, and advanced manufacturing it will have significant implications for our national security, for our economic competitiveness, and for our way of life. The United States must go on the offensive to maintain our scientific and technological leadership.”
Lucas also discussed climate change as the other generational challenge for the U.S. “As a farmer and rancher, I have seen firsthand the impact of the changing climate. Our continued economic growth requires us to address it. But we have to do so in a way that doesn’t raise energy prices and hurt American families and businesses. We need to invest in research that produces next-generation technologies, ensuring America is the leader in producing cleaner and more affordable energy for the world.”
SALSTA addresses both international competitiveness and climate change by doubling basic research over ten years and prioritizing world-class research infrastructure, a skilled STEM workforce, and a focus on critical technologies.
The bill will:
- Create a National S&T Strategy. Directs a more strategic whole-of-government planning process to establish national priorities with better coordination between agencies and a large focus on securing research from China.
- Prioritize Investment in Federal Basic Research. Authorizes a doubling of basic research funding over the next 10 years at the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Invest in American Research Facilities. Authorizes the infrastructure needed to maintain world-class research facilities.
- Develop a STEM Workforce. Supports an increase in key programs to grow the American pipeline of STEM-capable workers, including cybersecurity and other areas of national need.
- Reform Regulations. Improves the effectiveness of Federal R&D investments through technology transfer reform and promotes better collaboration between the federal government and private industry.
“For more than a century, America has produced breakthrough technologies and led the world in pioneering research and scientific discovery,” Lucas said. “This bill gives us the resources needed to maintain that legacy and lead the next generation of innovations.”
The bill was cosponsored by the following Members of the Committee:
Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX)
Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX)
Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS)
Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN)
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH)
Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL)
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX)
Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC)
Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH)
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL)
Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL)