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Opening Statement of Ranking Member Frank Lucas at Research & Technology Subcommittee hearing on NIST Reauthorization

Mar 10, 2020
Opening Statement
Reauthorization of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
Thank you, Chairwoman Stevens and Ranking Member Baird for holding today’s hearing on reauthorizing the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST. American businesses and consumers depend on the work done by NIST, and I appreciate that Dr. Copan is here today to give us greater insight into that.
 
NIST is unusual in that it doesn’t have the same name recognition of bigger government agencies, and yet its work touches the lives of every American, every day. Standardized, accurate, and trustworthy weights and measurements are crucial to everything from medical tests to accurate GPS directions and from auto manufacturing to cybersecurity. They impact roughly half of U.S. GDP. Essentially, NIST’s work is the foundation on which U.S. competitiveness grows.
 
NIST’s core measurement science programs aid American businesses in overcoming technical obstacles, fulfilling an essential role that companies cannot do themselves. For example, they provide calibrations and standards for industry broadly – from oil and agriculture to aerospace and medicine.
 
That’s why this Committee has a long history of bipartisan support for NIST. And it’s why I’m hopeful that we can work together on legislation that will give
NIST the resources it needs to support our continued economic growth. 
 
For America to compete globally, we not only need to be effective and efficient in our current industries, but we also need to lead the way in emerging technologies and industries of the future. China has made it an explicit goal to surpass the U.S. and become the world leader in critical technologies like quantum information science, artificial intelligence, and advanced manufacturing. By investing in our STEM workforce, world-class facilities, and the research needed to develop state-of-the-art technologies, we’ll secure our R&D and drive progress. NIST is critical to U.S. leadership in AI, quantum technologies, and other emerging technologies.
 
In January I introduced the Securing American Leadership in Science and Technology Act to address challenges to American competitiveness. It will double funding for basic research over the next 10 years, which includes doubling funding for NIST labs. It provides infrastructure updates and prioritizes research in industries of the future.
 
As critical technologies are developed for global deployment, it is critical that the United States and its allies continue to shape standards that underpin the technologies themselves, and the future international governance of these technologies for generations to come. NIST plays an important role in this arena by developing and disseminating the standards that allow technology to work seamlessly and businesses to operate smoothly. My legislation also takes steps to improve how NIST engages in international standards development.
 
As the reauthorization of NIST is considered by this Committee, I hope we can work together to address these issues. I want to again thank Chairwoman Stevens and Ranking Member Baird for holding today’s hearing. 
 
And thank you Dr. Copan for your leadership of NIST and for your testimony today. I yield back the balance of my time.
116th Congress