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Opening Statement of Ranking Member Frank Lucas at Full Committee Hearing on Research at DOE

May 27, 2021
Opening Statement
“Overview of the Science and Engineering Research Enterprise of the U.S. Department of Energy”

Thank you Chairwoman for hosting this hearing. Today, we welcome Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm to discuss the Department’s priorities for fiscal year 2022 and beyond. I’m looking forward to hearing how the Department will provide robust support for the high-priority research programs and infrastructure carried out by the Department.

DOE is the nation’s largest federal sponsor of basic research in the physical sciences and is a world leader in technology development and innovation. As such, it is critical to our work on the Science Committee to address two of the biggest challenges facing our country right now: climate change and global competitiveness.

To address climate change and continue our economic growth, we must develop cleaner and more reliable energy sources. But we have to approach this in a way that doesn’t raise energy prices and take away American jobs. We need to invest in research that produces next-generation technologies, ensuring America is the leader in affordable energy production and global emissions reduction for years to come.

At the same time, we face serious threats to our scientific leadership from the Chinese Communist Party. In order for the U.S. research enterprise to keep its position as the world’s leader in innovation, we must make significant investments in R&D that provide a stable and sustainable path forward in key technology focus areas and across the scientific disciplines.

DOE is uniquely positioned to meet both of these challenges. It is our responsibility on the Science Committee to ensure the Department has the authorities and the resources it needs to get the job done.

Last Congress, we worked together to pass the Energy Act of 2020, the first comprehensive update of U.S. energy policy in over a decade. This bill includes more than a dozen bills from this Committee and focuses on diverse and competitive clean energy solutions driven by research across DOE’s applied energy offices. It recognizes that the most effective way to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gases, and maintain U.S. energy independence is through technological innovations, which we can support by investing in basic and early-stage research. This afternoon, I look forward to hearing from the Secretary about DOE’s plans to fully implement this legislation.

To build on the successes of the Energy Act, and to secure DOE’s essential contributions to the federal research enterprise, we must work together to pass comprehensive DOE Office of Science legislation. Today, Chairwoman Johnson and I released the text of a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Office of Science, increase our investment, and provide a roadmap for DOE’s research and development work. This is the first comprehensive authorization of the Office of Science, and it could not come at a better time. Working with the Energy Subcommittee Ranking Member Randy Weber and Chairman Jamaal Bowman, we’ve drafted a bill that will invest nearly $50 billion over 5 years, giving the Office of Science and our National Labs the resources they need to continue to excel.

We need cutting-edge facilities for our federal scientists and researchers from academia and industry to conduct big science—research that can’t be done in individual labs and requires massive equipment that industry cannot provide, like advanced light sources and neutron sources. This Office of Science legislation, which will be formally introduced tomorrow, is part of a two-pronged approach to build up America’s research program along with the NSF for the Future Act,

Chairwoman Johnson and I have taken a deliberative approach to revitalizing American research. We’re doing so within reauthorization bills, which comprehensively fund the National Science Foundation and the Office of Science. Rather than throwing money at these agencies or pitting them against each other for funding, we’re investing in the programs that work and creating new ones where needed. We’re giving the agencies the resources to sustainably scale-up their work. The last thing we need is a massive, one-time injection of money that will dry up when attention turns away from America’s research needs.

The NSF for the Future Act and this Office of Science reauthorization are both in line with the Securing American Leadership in Technology Act (SALSTA), a bill I introduced to double Office of Science funding over the next 10 years, invest in our national laboratories, improve technology transfer, and protect American research from theft by foreign adversaries I appreciate Chairwoman Johnson’s commitment to our shared goal of strengthening our research enterprise and I look forward to working together to pass these bills into law.

I want to thank Secretary Granholm for her testimony today, and for outlining her plans to execute DOE’s mission objectives in the upcoming fiscal year and beyond. I look forward to a productive discussion. Thank you Chairwoman Johnson, I yield back the balance of my time.

117th Congress