Opening Statement of Ranking Member Frank Lucas at Full Committee Markup on H.R. 4091, H.R. 2051, and H.R. 1709
Oct 17, 2019
ARPA-E Reauthorization, Sustainable Chemistry, and Scientific Integrity
Today we will consider three bills.
The first is H.R. 4091, the ARPA-E Reauthorization Act of 2019. After a lot of negotiation, I’m pleased to say we’ve reached a bipartisan consensus on this legislation, and I look forward to supporting the bill as amended.
I want to thank the Chairwoman for being willing to come to the table and find a more measured approach we can all agree on.
I believe the additional changes in the Manager’s Amendment that we’ll consider today will further strengthen this legislation. With this amendment, we’ll double our investment in ARPA-E’s high-risk, high-reward research over 5 years – but we’ll also establish important guardrails to ensure we’re using our limited research dollars wisely and efficiently.
To be sure we’re not using taxpayer dollars on initiatives that industry can conduct, the bill requires grant applicants to demonstrate they made sufficient attempts to fund projects without federal dollars.
Importantly, this bill will address the problem of duplication within ARPA-E. Like all federal programs, ARPA-E isn’t perfect, and in the past, some initiatives have appeared to duplicate the efforts of other DOE programs.
ARPA-E is meant to focus on cutting-edge research to enable transformative technologies. It can’t do that if its resources are being drained by duplicative work conducted elsewhere in the Department.
This bill will require the Department to prevent duplication between ARPA-E’s initiatives and other research across DOE.
I’m also pleased that Chairwoman Johnson has agreed to join me in a GAO request seeking to add transparency to this program. With this report, I hope we can shed some light on unintended duplication and develop policies to prevent that from occurring in the future.
Taken together, these initiatives will strengthen ARPA-E and refocus the program on its intended mission: serving as the bridge between basic research and industry-led innovation.
The second bill on our agenda today is H.R. 2051, the Sustainable Chemistry Act of 2019. H.R. 2051 provides for federal coordination of research and development for new innovations in chemistry, manufacturing and materials.
This bill continues our Committee’s bipartisan commitment to prioritizing fundamental research for new technologies and the ideas that will drive the American economy into the future.
Chemistry is essential to our economy and plays a vital role in helping to solve the biggest challenges facing the nation and our world.
From farming to medicine to the appliances we use, chemical manufacturing touches our lives every day.
There is market demand for chemical products that use resources more efficiently and are safer for both humans and the environment. Consumers want these products to be just as effective, or more effective than traditional chemical products. This bill will help support the research, training, and standards needed to meet these demands.
It’s rare that a bill has the endorsement of both chemical companies and environmental advocates.
I thank the bill’s sponsors Rep. Dan Lipinski and Rep. John Moolenaar for their leadership on this issue, and for developing a good consensus bill.
I encourage my colleagues to support it.
The final bill on our agenda today is the Scientific Integrity Act. I will speak more on that when we consider the bill and I offer an amendment. But in the meantime, I appreciate Chairwoman Johnson and the bill’s sponsor Mr. Tonko for working with us on a compromise to be able to move that bill forward with my support.
In the meantime, I look forward to considering our bipartisan bills on ARPA-E and sustainable chemistry.